Julie + Luna
On a Saturday in August 2013, my husband and I planned to run errands. We arrived at the local Petco to get food for our first rescue child, Brutus. Paws and Prayers Pet Rescue was holding a veteran’s adoption event in the parking lot. My husband is an Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) Navy Veteran, and I should have known better than to let him wait outside with the puppies.
"But I saw the way my husband looked at Luna, and I felt my resolve waver and fade away."
The first weeks were terrible. If there are rules of behavior among civilized dogs, I can assure you, Luna broke most of them. When she wasn’t going to the bathroom in the (rented) house, she was eating the carpet or furniture. She could hear food being prepared from three stories up, yet went deaf at the very hint of a command. I thought we were going to have to find her another home; I did not have the patience for this.
But my husband felt, if given time, he could turn the Eliza Doolittle of dogs into a decent pet. Luna began making progress bit by bit, as did my husband. He had medically-separated from the service after a blast left him with a traumatic brain injury and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Luna, and our other dog, Brutus, gave my husband companionship. He started sleeping better and forming a daily routine.
The city where we resided at the time had a couple of nearby dog parks. But every time we took our dogs to these parks, we faced rejection and discrimination because of Luna’s breed. Most people would take their dogs and leave as soon as we entered. The few who stayed discovered a friendly and inquisitive playmate for their pets.
We eventually moved to a property with a bit of land. We fenced off an acre, so the dogs could have their own place to run and play and where we could be free of the prejudice against this misunderstood breed.
During the last four years, Luna has shown an amazing aptitude for kindness towards people and animals. She plays with kittens, snuggles baby chickens, frolics among our sheep and allows our toddler to use her as a personal playground. While the early days were a trial – and some days still are –I wouldn’t give up Luna for anything.
Every dog deserves a chance – and a loving home can make all the difference in the world.
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 Julie Weese won Paws and Prayers Pet Rescue in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio a 2016 Holiday Wishes award.