Adopted Puppy Brings Balance to Adopter’s Life

Giving Lucy the best led Nicholas to live his best life, too.

Nicholas + Lucy

Nicholas was struggling with addiction and was on the verge of failing out of college. Then an adopted puppy helped change the course of his life for the better.

"Being a Lab-Terrier mix, she was a handful of joy from day one; always curious, full of energy and eager to please. Anytime I got lost in my own head, Lucy was there to pull me out."

I’ve loved dogs my entire life. My dad hasn’t. After high school, a year of college, and a 30-foot fall that resulted in a traumatic brain injury, drugs and alcohol stole my happiness and sidetracked my life. I was about to fail out of college (for a second time) and felt like a burden to my family as I struggled to keep a positive attitude towards my future. I attended AA meetings, NA meetings, and appointments with counselors as I constantly battled with depression and relapse. My life was a mess. I knew what I needed to do, I just couldn’t stay on track.

Adopted Dog Lucy

I’ll never forget the day I spoke to my counselor about my love for dogs and how adopting one could help. “It’s a serious commitment that requires a lot of time and patience,” she warned. I was nervous, excited and ready. That night, I told my dad I wanted to adopt a dog. He was not excited. But he wanted to do anything that would help me be happy. I found a local rescue, saw a picture online, and instantly fell in love. Two days later, Lucy found her forever home.

Adopted Dog Lucy

Lucy was 12 weeks old when I got her, so I knew I had the opportunity (and the responsibility) to train her well. Being a Lab-Terrier mix, she was a handful of joy from day one; always curious, full of energy and eager to please. Every morning I woke up early to walk her, feed her, and go through playful training sessions that taught her to sit, lay down, roll over, play dead, give a high five, etc. Her playful spirit kept my mind out of the gutter. Anytime I got lost in my own head, Lucy was there to pull me out. My family noticed and I noticed; I was becoming myself again.

Adopted Dog Lucy

I started taking her for six-mile hikes, I was sleeping better, eating better — and most of all, I was feeling better. My grades went from all F’s to all A’s and B’s and I recently graduated from college. Being responsible for Lucy’s life and well-being made me focus more on my own life and my future. With her help, I have built a foundation of good habits that have stuck with me; going to bed and waking up early, exercising, cooking my own meals and finding clarity. I reconnected with my parents through walks around the block and it’s all thanks to Lucy.

Adopted Dog Lucy

I believe Lucy was always meant to be a part of our family and I can’t imagine a home without her. She is full of so much love and happiness that it’s contagious. At first, my dad was “putting up with her.” Now I’ll catch him sneaking over to give her some kisses and belly rubs when nobody’s downstairs. Lucy has brought my family closer together and helped me get my life back on track. I can’t wait for many more years and many more adventures with my little angel!

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 Nicholas won Home for Good Dog Rescue in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey a 2019 Holiday Wishes award.