Adopted Puppy Played Matchmaker at the Dog Park

Luka showed mom Alicia the true meaning of unconditional love.

Alicia + Luka

Alicia had always dreamed of adopting a dog. Then she met Luka, who became her constant companion, her matchmaker, and her best friend.

"Lucky for me Trigger belonged to Greg, who had adopted Trigger from The Animal Foundation, too."

Luka the dog and Alicia

Luka was the fulfillment of my long-held dream to have my own dog—a dream I’d been holding since the fourth grade. Finally thirteen years later, after nursing school graduation, I made my way to the bungalows of The Animal Foundation. There he was: 8 weeks old, tiny and waiting. His tag read “Shepherd mix,” and it took me three seconds to know he was mine.

I picked him up the next day, named him Luka, and our story grew from there. Restricted to the kitchen during potty training, I spent two months studying for my nursing exam at the kitchen table. He grew from a puppy dead-set on untying shoelaces to my constant companion. No matter how many sleepless nights I experienced, tennis balls I threw, or times I begged, “Luka, relax!” I never regretted saying yes to his fuzzy face.

Luka the dog and Alicia

When Luka was 2 years old, he met Trigger, a beautiful Shepherd/Husky mix. This was a big deal because as friendly as Luka is, he always loved tennis balls a little bit more than furry friends. But Luka LOVED Trigger. When we saw him at the park, Luka would pester Trigger to play with him. Lucky for me Trigger belonged to Greg, who had adopted Trigger from The Animal Foundation, too. He felt that Trigger was meant to be his, the same way I felt Luka was meant to be mine. The way Luka loved them so readily was an obvious sign for me. Greg and I started dating, and our love of dogs and our dogs’ bond strengthened our relationship. We spent a lot of our dates at the dog park, and our dogs were overjoyed when we moved in together.

Our love for them encouraged us to adopt another dog, Archer, as well. Archer had been rescued from Mexico and had a lot of trust issues, but Luka and Trigger’s friendly and calm demeanors won him over and he’s grown into a great dog. Luka and Trigger finally got their wish when Greg and I married in May 2018 (The dogs were there, obviously!). They are the happiest meant-to-be brothers ever.

Wedding photo

I am thankful every day for Luka. He’s grown from that rambunctious puppy to my ever-present shadow. He’s my favorite hiking and best swimming buddy, even when he swims after ducks at the lake. He’s the sweetest cuddler when I’m sick, and makes me feel safe when I’m home alone. He constantly reminds me that love is unconditional. More than that, though, he’s grown with me through this rapidly changing period of my life. He’s been with me through promotions to a pediatric oncology/pediatric ICU nurse, and he’s been there on my worst days. He was the catalyst to us opening our home to Archer, and inspired us to foster a German Shepherd puppy until she found her forever home. Best of all, he gave me the gift of Greg and Trigger. I know now that I was meant to have Luka all along. He’s the dream that came true for my fourth-grade self, and hasn’t let me down a day since.

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 Alicia won The Animal Foundation in Nevada a 2018 Holiday Wishes award.

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