Maria + Peanut

Rescue Pup and Adopter receive Second Chances Together

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Maria + Peanut

In 2011, I was sentenced to two years incarceration at Ohio Reformatory for Women (ORW) and I truly felt like it was the end of the world. I had hit rock bottom, was bitter and angry. While incarcerated it was suggested to me to join the Second Chance Greyhound Program and it was there that my rehabilitation had begun.

In this program I earned my Dog Training Certification, using this tool and plenty of love I trained retired racing dogs to become adoptable pets. I learned to be patient, compassionate, and trustworthy. I began to trust again, as well, I let my guard down for the first time in a long time.

"It was a freezing November night in 2014 that I rescued Peanut from being thrown into a frozen pond."

Upon returning home in 2013, I struggled to find the peace I felt when I was with the dogs. What little happiness I had obtained was destroyed with the death of my mother, I had only been home 7 months. The sadness, anger, and regret were at times consuming. I was so lost until the day I wandered into a pet store that was having an adoption event. I had no idea it would change my entire life.11219317_10200805566899202_1910000272815358213_n

Toledo’s PETbull Project was having an adoption event and I couldn’t help but to play with their pups. The volunteers asked if I was looking to adopt, I declined, then they asked if I wanted to volunteer, I declined harshly, stating that I was just released from prison and that my mom had just passed. I believe my exact words were,”You don’t want someone like me” and Cindy Reinsel the Director of Toledo’s PETBull Project said that she has been looking for someone just like me for the educational program.

It wasn’t long before I began to rescue, as well. And it was a freezing November night in 2014 that I rescued Peanut from being thrown into a frozen pond. She was emaciated with a pinch collar digging into her thin and scabbed up neck. Peanut is a whippet mix and reminded me so much of my beloved Greyhounds. I took her to Toledo’s PETbull center, being that it was so late no foster was available, I had no choice but to take Peanut home with me. She was terrified of people, she trusted no one. I gave her plenty of space and lots of love.

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A few months later it was time to put Peanut up for adoption but it didn’t feel right. She would act up when going to adoption events and I began to feel uncomfortable with people handling her, she would give me this “how could you” look. I didn’t think I was ready to take on a permanent placement. When the applications started coming in for this beautiful girl, I realized I rescued her, I rehabilitated her, and she was just starting to trust me and show affection. I deserved her. By giving her a second chance at life, I gave myself a chance to love again. We both were starting over together.

10982141_10200574863011749_2867146072831464238_nEach 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 Maria won Pet Bull Project in Toledo, Ohio a 2015 Holiday Wishes award.