Adopted Dog Survives Hurricane Maria and Brings a Family Together

Coby’s love is strong enough to withstand a storm.

Kristine + Coby

Abandoned during Hurricane Maria, Coby gets a fresh start and helps his new family rebuild. Together, their bond is strong enough to withstand any storm.

"Things get tense when your roof is a blue tarp and rebuilding costs skyrocket. Coby is our referee… and has brought us closer as a couple and a family."

Coby was found tied to a tree in Frederiksted, St Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, the day after category-five Hurricane Maria made landfall. Traumatized Coby, named by his rescuers, was taken to their home. Unfortunately, they were soon forced to leave the island due to storm damage. They had several pets, making them unable to transport him off island. Desperate to find a safe place for Coby, they were made aware that Sunshine Foundation at Sugar Mill Veterinary Center was caring for storm injured and abandoned pets. In fact, it was the only facility accepting pets for months after the storm. Coby was surrendered and given a medical evaluation that revealed he was heartworm positive.

Coby the dog

SMVC’s boarding facility provided critical shelter space. Sunshine Foundation, the practices’ non-profit, sent out word that Coby was in need of a home. A friend at the foundation knew that due to extreme pet over-population, getting Coby adopted on island would be difficult. So she asked us to foster him until the heartworm treatment was finished and Coby could be flown to a stateside shelter for placement.

Coby the dog sleeping

We quickly realized that despite being abandoned and tied during a 165 mile-per-hour windstorm, Coby was an amazing dog. He has separation anxiety but is gentle, loyal, and smart as a whip. After 10 months, Coby is now heartworm free, and we’ve fallen in love with this guy!

Coby the dog with Peter

Coby is also my partner Peter’s first pet (ever). I am so proud of him! Over the months he has become devoted to his dog. He thinks of Coby’s needs before his own, he has truly bonded with Coby and it has made him a better person. Always a little restless, Peter takes Coby for walks on the beach two to three times a week. Peter has lost weight, and his blood pressure is lower. We both delight in watching Coby run around, tongue out, not a care in the world. I never imagined watching our dog rolling around in seaweed with pure joy would warm our hearts, but it does.

Rebuilding our lives after a hurricane isn’t easy, and at times, depression can set in. More than once I’ve found myself unable to get out of bed, overwhelmed with everything that needs to be done. That little nudge from Coby somehow propels me and gives me the kick start I need to face the day.

Coby the dog in the car

Things get tense when your roof is a blue tarp and rebuilding costs skyrocket. Coby is our referee, and we take direction from him. If discussions get heated, Coby goes to his cage. We know we have to cool it, so he’s saved us from some potentially painful arguments. I think Coby has made us both a little less selfish, and has brought us closer as a couple and a family. I think I’ll go give him a treat right now for making me so happy to be his mom.

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 Kristine won Sunshine Foundation in Puerto Rico a 2018 Holiday Wishes award.

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