Adopted Dog’s Warmth and Companionship are a Dose of Good News

Manhattan shows Georgi how to find work-life balance at home.

Georgi + Manhattan

Manhattan knew what Georgi needed to combat work-from-home burnout: walks, belly rubs, and lots of extra cuddles.

"I give myself a few minutes when I start to get overwhelmed, and I lie with Manny or take him for a quick walk around the block to clear my head. After a few minutes of belly rubs, I feel ready to get back to work. I know eventually I’ll have to go back to work in the office, and I won’t be able to take my “Manny breaks,” but for now, I’m soaking up our time together."

When you work in news like I do, the things people talk about all day (or night) at work is what everyone wants to talk about outside of work, too. It’s easy to burn out, so I decided early on to volunteer with animals to balance everything out. Fast forward to 2020. Suddenly the world was facing a global pandemic, and I had to move out of my fifth-floor New York City walk-up and into my boyfriend’s New Jersey apartment. I was grateful to be working, and to work for a company that allowed me to stay home, but I became incredibly lonely. My boyfriend is an essential worker, and he was going into work every day.

Like many others, COVID-19 has taken plenty from me. My aunt passed away, my trip to visit family in Italy was canceled, and I was forced to leave the city I’d dreamed of living in for years. It felt like things kept getting worse. Then, not long after I was approved to foster with Louie’s Legacy Animal Rescue, the news cycle sharply turned, and every day was filled with violent footage and heartbreaking sadness from all over the country. I have been working in news for five years and I have never seen anything like this. It was painful and sad, and work felt like too much to handle — often ending (or sometimes starting) the day with tears. Working in news is hard, and working from home is hard, but working in news from home is possibly one of the hardest things I’ll ever do. Not having the option to turn the television off or change channels when I started to get overwhelmed in my own home was incredibly challenging.

Then I saw a photo of a pup (with the saddest eyes and perfect ears) named Manhattan. I responded right away saying we’d welcome him into our home as a foster. I had just left Manhattan the city, and now I had Manhattan the dog moving in with me. It only took a few days for us to know Manhattan was meant for us, so we immediately applied to adopt him. Now I take “Manny breaks” the way some people might take smoke breaks. I give myself a few minutes when I start to get overwhelmed, and I lie with Manny or take him for a quick walk around the block to clear my head. After a few minutes of belly rubs, I feel ready to get back to work. Manny has been the best change I could have made for myself. I know eventually I’ll have to go back to work in the office, and I won’t be able to take my “Manny breaks,” but for now, I’m soaking up our time together.

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 Georgi won Louie’s Legacy Animal Rescue in Cincinnati, Ohio a 2020 Holiday Wishes award.