Adopted Dog Brings Love into Mom’s Life After Loss

Betsy’s ability to give and receive love where just what Valerie needed.

Valerie + Betsy

After the grief of loss and the relocation that followed, Valerie felt alone. Then she met Betsy, a pup who brought love and joy back to her life.

"Betsy gives and receives love so freely, and she has taught me to receive love again; something I had long ago forgotten how to do."

My connection to Betsy (a.k.a. Elizabeth Taylor) was immediate. I had been scrolling through dozens of homeless dogs online and when I saw her picture, something stirred in me that I hadn’t felt in years. It was pure heartfelt body truth. Somehow, I knew that Betsy and I shared a destiny.

Adopted Dog Betsy

Three and half years ago, a major life change had begun. My husband of 35 years suffered a traumatic stoke, and was subsequently diagnosed with early onset dementia. The unraveling continued when my dearest darling Mother died last year. I was numb from the shock of so much loss. My sister urged me to leave my New England home and moved south to be near her, and the rest of my family. I planned an estate sale, packed up what material possessions remained and left with little more than my memories. I felt lost, abandoned and alone.

Adopted Dog Betsy

Things began to turn around the day my sister was a guest on a radio program along with another guest that caught my attention. The other guest ran an animal rescue shelter, and while they were still on the air, I checked their website and found Betsy. She had been abandoned immediately after giving birth to eight puppies, which were all subsequently adopted. Betsy, on the other hand, was overlooked for two full years. Although she had endured rough times, she does not hold grudges. I decided right then that she would come and live with me.

Adopted Dog Betsy

Betsy has the regal swagger of a Hollywood starlet and the protective behavior of a mama lioness! I was inspired to change her name to Elizabeth Taylor (although she is still known as Bets or Betsy). She gives and receives love so freely, and she has taught me to receive love again; something I had long ago forgotten how to do.

Adopted Dog Betsy

I am once again optimistic about the future. Betsy has shown me how to live in the moment and enjoy what each day brings. With Bets by my side, life has remarkably changed my home into a heart-space. Our fate is sealed in love and gratitude.

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 Valerie won Voices of Change Animal League (VOCAL) in Ocala, Florida a 2019 Holiday Wishes award.