Adopted Dog Meets his Match

Henry finds his “best friend twin” in a dog named Podkin.

Stacy + Podkin

An adopted dog named Podkin showed a boy named Henry the true meaning of self-acceptance and unconditional love.

"Henry brought Podkin to school to show everyone his ‘new best friend twin.’ Henry told me when he went to school the next day, the kids who teased him said that he has the coolest dog ever and they love his little ear. I asked Henry what he thought about that and he responded, ‘I already knew I was cool, and now they like my little ear!’"

December 23, 2019 was a life changing day that I will never forget: my 5-year-old son Henry found a dog that was born with a little ear just like him. Umbrella of Hope advertised a cute scruffy little dog named “Podkin One-Ear” who was born with microtia, an underdeveloped external ear. Henry said, “Mommy! That little puppy is just like me! You were right, there are special people just like me! And he doesn’t have TWO big ears, he has a little one and a big one. He needs me, Mommy! I want Podkin because then I can show him that I’m just like him and he won’t be sad anymore and he can have my house!”

My heart sank when Henry said that because first of all, Podkin was in California and we are in South Carolina. Still, I emailed Umbrella of Hope straight away. Tish emailed me back and asked if we had any questions. Henry asked, “Does Podkin ever get teased or made fun of by any of the other dogs?” Tish said that the other dogs don’t even notice that Podkin is different and he has lots of friends. Henry was so happy. He said, “Wow, that is so cool! Podkin can come to my school and tell those kids that I’m not different either!” My heart just about broke.

Every day, Henry would ask me to take a picture of him so Tish would see he was studying to be Podkin’s best friend. Henry also kept praying for Podkin every day. The most exciting day ever was when Tish called Henry and said, “Henry, I have chosen you. You get to adopt Podkin!” 

Henry squealed with so much happiness! It took about a week to arrange the flight for Podkin. We drove up to Atlanta and met Podkin in the airport, and Henry made a sign to hold so that Podkin could read it and know that “I am his new best friend and I am Podkin’s Henry!” 

Podkin sat in Henry’s lap the whole five-hour drive back home. This was truly the best day of Henry and Podkin’s lives! Henry brought Podkin to school the next week and walked around the whole school to show everyone his “new best friend twin.” Henry told me when he went to school the next day, the kids who teased him said that he has the coolest dog ever and they love his little ear. I asked Henry what he thought about that and he responded, “I already knew I was cool and now they like my little ear!”  

Henry and Podkin are inseparable. They even have several matching shirts they wear all the time. They are the best of friends, and I cannot ever thank Umbrella of Hope and all of their volunteers enough. We are forever grateful, and Umbrella of Hope is by far the most deserving of this grant!

Each year, the Petco Foundation Holiday Wishes campaign invites adopters to share stories of how their pets have changed their lives to give the organizations that they’ve adopted from the chance to receive grant awards. This story by Stacy won Umbrella of Hope in Pittsburg, California a 2020 Holiday Wishes award.