Dog’s Resilience Inspires a Boy, Enriches a Family

When a middle-school boy is bullied, help comes in the form of a dog with three legs.

every gift saves lives

every gift saves lives

Lynette + Zero

“I don’t want a dog!”

I said these words for years. Being the mother of four children ranging in age from four to 12, I had no desire for more work on my plate. And yet, the begging and negotiating from my children was never-ending. Years went by and I firmly stood my ground. But this year, everything changed.

"Zero has brought so much joy and peace to our family that despite my stubborn efforts to proclaim that I am not a dog person, he is quickly changing my opinion. "

My oldest child Carson started middle school. He was bullied and teased, and I watched as his confidence plummeted. It was devastating. He’s successful in school, has many talents, and is kind. But a few kids made it nearly impossible for him to feel confident with his peers and even with himself. He started feeling anxious and depressed and had a hard time finding the courage to go to school.

The stress and worry that filled our house was almost tangible. We tried to help him from every angle we could. We sought help from professionals in and outside of school, but one nagging thought kept coming to my mind: Carson needs a dog. Someone who was always there, always listening, loving him unconditionally, and giving him the confidence to keep going. I realized that the love of a dog was different than the love we could give him—and it might be just what he needed.

I searched for the perfect dog for Carson and I prayed that we would find just the right one. I was drawn to an adorable six-month-old puppy that we later named Zero. His story of being hit by a car and losing a leg was inspiring and motivating. Everything fell into place and we adopted Zero a month ago. School started and the anxiety and depression we were terrified of happening again never entered our home.

Zero has brought so much joy and peace to our family that despite my stubborn efforts to proclaim that I am not a dog person, he is quickly changing my opinion. I am witnessing firsthand how therapeutic and comforting a dog can be. He is exactly what my 12-year-old needed and exactly what our family needed. I look at him now and I’m so thankful for Zero, my hero!

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 Lynette Loveridge won A Forever Home Rescue Foundation in Virginia a 2017 Holiday Wishes award.