Cory + Bonnie

Unexpected Addition to the Family Turns Out to be What one Man Needed

every gift saves lives

every gift saves lives

Cory + Bonnie

In 2012, my wife, Jessica, and I moved back to northern Michigan after spending eight years in the U.S. Army. Jessica and I were high school sweethearts and moving back home was a unanimous decision for both of us.

During my time in the military, I was deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. My deployment to Iraq was especially challenging, both mentally and physically. During the 15-months, I was deployed as an Infantryman gunner, I sustained numerous injuries, including being shot and suffering a traumatic brain injury – the result of being thrown from my vehicle after it hit an IED (improvised explosive device).

"I lost quite a few friends during the war, which is something I think about every day."

Moving back to the safe, beautiful community where I grew up was just what I needed. I was thrilled to be home. Shortly after moving back, Jessica and I started volunteering as dog walkers at the Little Traverse Bay Humane Society. I enjoyed it since it got me outside and helped get my mind off things.

One afternoon, at the insistence of my wife, we stopped by the kitten room. While most of the kittens seemed aloof and indifferent, one tiny, fuzzy-haired kitten teetered up to us and promptly curled up on my lap. She purred so loudly that her whole body vibrated.

After leaving the kitten room, we waited by the door and watched another couple go in. This kitten, who had just snuggled in my lap, didn’t want anything to do with the new couple. As we headed home, I couldn’t stop thinking about her. We already had two rescue dogs and a rescue cat. I figured we didn’t need another animal.

My time in the military taught me to think things through carefully and rationally. I don’t consider myself an impulsive person, but the next day, I went back to the shelter, filled out the adoption paperwork and brought her home. My wife was both surprised and thrilled when she came home from work that day.

I have not once regretted that decision. Bonnie has been an amazing addition to our home and an incredible source of peace for me personally. She loves to curl up on my lap and purr loudly, just like she did as a kitten. She frequently falls asleep on my chest at night. Her presence is calming. She helps me forget about what I endured during the war.

Even though we didn’t need another animal, I needed Bonnie. And I like to think that she needed me, too.

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 Cory Evans won Little Traverse Bay Humane Society in Harbor Springs, Michigan a 2016 Holiday Wishes award.