Lab Helps Man Heal After Family Tragedy

Chloe came into this family’s life right when they would need her most.

every gift saves lives

every gift saves lives

Gil + Chloe

Last November, I was working at the Charleston Animal Society Chili Cook-off. Since I had gotten there early to set up, I went to see the dogs that were brought to the event (with no intention of adopting one).

Then I saw Chloe, a two-year-old yellow Lab, sitting in her crate. She looked a little spooked by everything going on, but she stole my heart. I sent a couple of pictures to my 23-year-old son Zachary, who was living with me, and of course he said, “Dad, you have to bring her home.”

"I sent a couple of pictures to my 23-year-old son Zachary, who was living with me, and of course he said, “Dad, you have to bring her home.”"

Zach was raised with Labs. I had several while he was growing up, but it had been almost 10 years since my last one passed away. I knew immediately that I wanted to give her a good home. Chloe was nervous at first, but warmed up to us pretty quickly and we both loved her dearly.

About three weeks after I brought her home, the unimaginable happened: my son was killed by a drunk driver.

I truly believe that God put Chloe in my life for a reason. She has become so much more than just a pet.

She’s given me a reason to get up in the morning on days I didn’t want to move, and she has been by my side when all I could do was cry. Chloe never ceases to amaze me with her ability to know what I’m feeling. There are days when I’m overwhelmed by sadness or having an especially bad day, and she’ll curl up next to me and rest her head on my foot.

There’s never a morning that I wake up and she’s not by my side, and she has made the worst time in my life a little more bearable. I treasure the picture I have of Zachary and Chloe. Every day I am thankful that I walked over that morning to see the dogs, and I can’t thank Charleston Animal Society enough for making pets like Chloe available for adoption.

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 Gil Grooms won Charleston Animal Society in South Carolina a 2017 Holiday Wishes award.