Adopted Dog Makes the Perfect Hiking Buddy

Thanks to Seven, love became the greatest adventure of all.

Caitlin + Seven

Caitlin was looking for a hiking buddy when she adopted a dog named Seven. Instead, Seven led Caitlin to her forever family.

"Seven loved the wild endless trails of the Adirondacks. She would run free, chasing critters to her heart's content, and I would be out of breath from trying to climb while laughing at her antics."

Adopted Dog Seven

Suzy was playing in a kiddie pool the first time I saw her. I had just driven 10 hours to Richmond, Virginia from Plattsburgh, New York to meet her and hopefully bring her home. I had less than five minutes with her (and about a thousand kisses during that time) before I knew she was going to be my daughter for the rest of her life.

Adopted Dog Seven

She didn’t take her eyes off me the whole ride home. I decided to rename her Seven in reference to a Seinfeld episode. I thought it was unique and suited her, but I didn’t know I’d be spending forever trying to explain to people what it’s from. We occasionally get, “Is that a Seinfeld reference?” but typically it’s a long explanation of the episode and blank stares in return.

Adopted Dog Seven

Seven and I quickly fell into sync. We would go to the lake where she would throw herself into the water, even if it meant using her paw to break the ice first. We took up hiking right away too and that’s when our bond really began to grow. I was alone in New York, a transplant from the Midwest with almost no friends, no family nearby and only Seven to indulge in the gorgeous area we’d both found ourselves in from different corners of the country. Seven loved the wild endless trails of the Adirondacks, possibly more than me. She would run free, chasing critters to her heart’s content, and I would be out of breath not from the 4,000 feet of gain in a single hike but from trying to climb while laughing at her antics. We had so much fun, but that first year was just the tip of the iceberg.

That next spring I met my husband to be. He is an athlete so Seven immediately liked him more than me. They spent all day running around the Adirondacks, roller skiing, trail running, swimming and paddling. Watching them together made my heart smile. Seeing how much he loved her, and her him, is what made me first fall in love with him. Now we are a little family and I barely remember the lonely days before Seven and her dad came along.

Adopted Dog Seven

Seven is your classic rescue dog story. She’s all of the clichés. She found her way to me because someone else didn’t think she was good enough. I struggle to understand that, but I’m thankful her sad story led her to us. She is my motivation to get outside. She’s the reason I push myself to enjoy the outdoors. Our mutual love for adventure could not have been more meant to be. The backpack trips, afternoons paddleboarding, days out on the ski trails, hours and hours bagging peaks are all just as wonderful as weekends on the couch cuddling by the wood stove — as long as Seven is there to interrupt it with a nibble on the nose and affectionate kiss.

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 Caitlin won Eastern Herding Dog Rescue in Richmond, Virginia a 2019 Holiday Wishes award.