Adopted Dog is the King of Queens

Even in a busy urban setting, Ernie makes friends wherever he goes.

Sarah + Ernie

With his happy-go-lucky demeanor, Ernie brings his community together one wag at a time.

"With Ernie and his cute little trot, it soon became clear that it would be next to impossible to walk down the street and not say hello. He LOVES meeting people, and he makes everyone smile."

The first time I met Ernie, I picked him up and he kissed me on the nose. From that moment I knew he was part of our family. We have laughed every single day since he came home with us. He is tiny but has such an adventurous spirit. He absolutely loves life and every moment with him is pure joy.

Adopted Dog Ernie

When we adopted him, one thing we never anticipated was how deeply he would connect us to our surrounding community. In a big place like Queens, New York, people don’t tend to stop and introduce themselves to everyone on the street. But with Ernie and his cute little trot, it soon became clear that it would be next to impossible to walk down the street and not say hello. He LOVES meeting people, and he makes everyone smile.

Adopted Dog Ernie

We see one neighbor in the morning on her way to work and she always says, “Hello my baby! Hello my little friend!” and he wags his tail and gets so excited to greet her. An elderly woman who lives down the block brought us magazine clippings to make sure we bought him a proper coat and boots for the snow (she had been saving it in her purse for the next time we ran into each other). After chatting with a man on the next block for several months, we learned that he recently reunited with his daughter in Tennessee after 37 years.

There is a Greek man, Spiro, and his Boston Terrier, Stella, who we see almost daily. He sings a little song to Ernie like a long-lost uncle and Ernie is always so happy to go say hello. There is a little girl, about 7 years old, who recently lost her grandfather. She waits outside with her grandmother every morning, and we hear a sweet little voice yell, “Hi, Ernie!”.

Adopted Dog Ernie

And then, there’s Vinny. Vinny is an older man who stands with his cane smoking cigarettes in front of his apartment building. He’s a nice man, but we honestly would probably never have met if not for Ernie. We saw him on almost every walk, but recently noticed that he hadn’t been outside for a while and were starting to worry that something was wrong. Last Saturday, my husband and I were out running an errand and there was Vinny! He had been in the hospital for several weeks, but was looking well. He decided to move closer to family and for the past three weekends he had been looking for Ernie say goodbye. We obviously ran right home to get Ernie and they were both so happy to see each other. We wished Vinny well in his move and said goodbye.

Adopted Dog Ernie

We always knew adopting a dog would change our lives, but we never knew how much he would change the world around us. Ernie’s little light shines so brightly, and we will keep on helping it shine for all the world to see.

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 Sarah won Korean K9 Rescue in Middle Village, New York a 2019 Holiday Wishes award.