Foster Dog and Boy Snuggle Each Other Into Blissful Sleep

Head to paw, Bauer is there as a warm, cuddly remedy for insomnia.

Amanda + Bauer

Amanda offered Bauer a warm foster home during a snowy winter, but soon he became an inseparable part of the family. Together, Bauer and his 7-year-old human brother get through insomnia and night fears, side by side.

"He settled on the hallway, just outside my bedroom, close to the night light. When I woke up around 2 a.m. (mothering habit), I noticed that he had company. My 7-year-old son, who struggles with insomnia and ADHD, had found a different source of comfort."

Adopted Dog Bauer

Living in Pennsylvania, we experience winter snow in all its glory. Schools close, kids layer up and sleds come out to play. In anticipation for days inside, people race to the market for milk and bread. On March 13, 2017, the eve of a Nor’easter, while others rushed to Acme, I headed to Providence Animal Center and grabbed a dog in need of a warm home instead. I cautioned the family that it was just for one night, until the storm passed.

Bart (now Bauer) was one of the center’s Angels Pets. He arrived with a complicated medical condition, heartworm and Lyme positive and an unknown prognosis. If he was able to survive his failing kidneys, he would require lifelong medical monitoring and medication. He was in desperate need of safe place, comfort, peace and quiet. After learning of his condition, I scooped him up and promised him a warm meal and cozy bed.

Adopted Dog Bauer

Peace and quiet were harder to find with two dog-loving children and a 12-year-old Weimaraner running around our kitchen. The first night in our home, Bauer retreated to a private corner, a bit unsure of the family pet dynamic. We carried him up the stairs and let him find his own space. He settled on the hallway, just outside my bedroom, close to the night light. When I woke up around 2 a.m. (mothering habit), I noticed that he had company. My 7-year-old son, who struggles with insomnia and ADHD, had found a different source of comfort on his way to me. My heart will never be the same.

Adopted Dog Bauer

On any given night, one of these boys seeks out the other when the quiet scariness of the night wakes them. They don’t mind where they sleep, as long as they’re together. They’ve slept in a closet on thundering nights, and head to paw on a dog bed after July 4th fireworks. I truly believe they serve as each other’s dream catchers, easing one another back to sleep, feeling safe and protected. I am in awe of this scared dog’s ability to heal my son’s nighttime fears. My son’s sensory processing challenges coupled with his ADHD have a way of keeping his mind from resting; little did I know that help would come from a homeless dog who needed some rest himself.

Adopted Dog Bauer

You can often find my daughter bunking up with them, too. I hope that with each sleepover, we are also healing Bauer’s wounded soul. After months of fostering and an unsuccessful match at Clear the Shelter, we made Bauer part of our family on December 16, 2018. Bauer is still an insecure dog who requires patience and acceptance. Afraid of his own tail, he has taught us that some things are easier to tackle with a friend beside you. He has also taught us the gift of fostering, adding 12 more to our list since bringing him home. Although he is not cured, he is happy, loved and safe.

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 Amanda won Providence Animal Center in Media, Pennsylvania a 2019 Holiday Wishes award.