Adopted Dog Inspires an Outdoor Lifestyle

Together, Amanda and Rouge are taking a bite out of life one adventure at a time.

Amanda + Rouge

A recent college graduate with a heart condition, Amanda dreamed of outdoor adventures with a best friend by her side. Little did she know that she would find that constant companion in an adoptable puppy.

"Life with Rouge is starkly different than my life before. I’m very active, I exercise daily, and my heart condition has largely improved."

Adopted Dog Rouge

“He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion.”

This was the quote written on a glossy card with my new puppy’s picture that I received the day I adopted him. I thought it was thoughtful, and I hung the picture on my wall at home. At
the time, I had no idea how true it would be.

Prior to adopting my dog, I had just graduated from college. I spent a lot of time in front of a computer screen. I was either working on homework or managing a large website. I rarely exercised. I never frequented my large backyard. I was extremely sedentary, and I also had a heart condition that made it difficult to exercise without becoming exhausted. I wasn’t lonely, I had a supportive family and friends. However, I always dreamed of being adventurous. I would gaze at the nearby mountains and imagine exploration. But no one I knew shared my ambitions.

Adopted Dog Rouge

I volunteered at Animal Village NM for years prior to getting Rouge. I wanted a dog for a long time, but during college, it wasn’t feasible. I was out of college now and went back to volunteering. On my first day back, there were 17 puppies up for adoption. That’s how I found Rouge. Out of all the puppies, he was sitting there, tail wagging, gazing up at me as if to say, “Want to play?”

Adopted Dog Rouge

Life with Rouge is starkly different than my life before. I’m very active, I exercise daily, and my heart condition has largely improved. I hike almost weekly and I have explored more trails than I can count. I also got into dog sports like obedience and agility. We travel all over the state for this and have made countless new friends.

Adopted Dog Rouge

Rouge is ready for adventure on a moment’s notice. Every morning he jumps on my bed, paws at my arm, lays his head on my chest, wags his tail and looks at me as if to say, “What are
we going to do today?!” I use my large backyard every day to play or train, and I have given up most of my computer jobs and former hobbies. The only time I’m cooped up in my house is due to inclement weather. Otherwise, we are always on the move.

One day, I was cleaning my office and I noticed the picture on the wall with the quote from the day I adopted Rouge. I read it and couldn’t make it through a few words without tearing up. Rouge has been the greatest friend and companion I could ask for. I hope I am, indeed, worthy of such devotion.

Each year, the Petco Foundation invites adopters to share the story of how their adopted pet changed their lives during the annual Holiday Wishes campaign, giving the organization that they adopted from a chance to receive a grant award. This story by Amanda won Animal Village NM in Alamogordo, New Mexico a 2019 Holiday Wishes award.