Christina + Eli

Country Pup's New Life in the Big City

every gift saves lives

every gift saves lives

Christina + Eli

It’s a warm summer Saturday afternoon, and I’ve just received a package in the mail. It’s a Hawaiian shirt. It’s horribly garish but in all the right ways. Your eye doesn’t know what to look at first: the tall, leafy palm trees; the powerboats surging forward, their frothy wake trailing behind them; the glowing orbs in the sky, the color of tangelos; or the white hibiscus flowers peppering the collar for good measure.

As I put Eli’s paws through the sleeves, he grins at me as if to say, “It’s 5:00 somewhere! Where’s my margarita?”

"And that’s what I love about Eli: his mellow and patient personality. "

And that’s what I love about Eli: his mellow and patient personality. This boy is game for anything. The shirt is a little big for him –it looks more like a dress – but I’m not surprised. He’s miniature even for a Miniature Schnauzer. The rescue agency told us he was the runt of the litter.

This little guy has come a long way, both figuratively and literally. He was a country pup, originating from Knoxville, Tennessee, until my boyfriend, Kevin, and I adopted him, and he made the 710-mile journey to New York City in our RV.

Over time, we taught Eli how to climb stairs, ride an elevator, navigate the city’s congested sidewalks, and ride the New York City subway like a good canine citizen. In return, Eli taught us about unconditional love and the need to reshuffle our priorities.

He taught us that evenings and weekends shouldn’t be spent at the office, crunching numbers under fluorescent lights. He taught us how to take a deep breath in this bustling rat race we call New York City and take early morning walks by the East River to escape the city’s frenetic energy and pace.

On the weekends, we have our rituals: no work. Humans get iced coffees; Eli gets breakfast and a romp in the dog park. He is three-years-old, but he is often mistaken for a puppy; he moves like one,  happily gamboling on cobblestone.

It’s the simple things that give us the most joy: seeing his stocky little square body run toward us with pure love; his dignified beard waving in the wind; his bushy eyebrows raised in an expression of joy and excitement; his open-mouthed grin; and his little ears flopping around. He’s easy to spot since he’s not your typical “salt and pepper” schnauzer. He has ombré-charcoal briquette fur with a faint white stripe down his back, almost added as a last-minute dash of artistic brio.

Being responsible for this little creature has brought us closer together as a couple. Eli’s improved our life tremendously, and our hearts wouldn’t be as full without him.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a margarita to make.

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 Christina Wang won Helpers 4 Shelters in Middletown, New York a 2016 Holiday Wishes award.