Michael + Chewy

Adopted Dog brings Family Closer Together

every gift saves lives

every gift saves lives

Michael + Chewy

Before we got Chewy, our miniature schnauzer, I couldn’t understand why people got all emotional about dogs. But he’s helping me become more expressive and bringing our family closer together. I didn’t expect this, but he’s expanding my ways of being a dad.

"I didn’t expect this, but he’s expanding my ways of being a dad."

I used to come home tired from work and flop on the sofa to rest. Now when I get home, my two boys and I take Chewy for walks, and when we’re together conversations just happen naturally. Like, the other day, we started talking about moving to another house and Isaac, my 13-year-old, said he wanted a man cave and we all laughed.

I never thought I would have a dog. Growing up, my mom took me along when she cleaned houses for rich people, and some of them had dogs. I threw tennis balls for them, but Mom wasn’t crazy about dogs, so I ended up stand-offish about them.

Then this summer my boys talked about getting a dog. My wife felt sure I would say no, but we went onto a website called AdoptAPet.com and saw photos of a schnauzer named Chewy playing tug of war with his foster family. He had been found wandering the streets of Baltimore and was so dirty and matted he had to be completely shaved. He was skinny and looked pretty rough – what you might call a “fixer-upper.”

I don’t show my emotions much, but at one point my wife said, “Man, you’re getting into this more than I thought you would.”

We applied to adopt him, and when we were approved, we all went to meet the people from Homeward Bound Schnauzer Rescue in Annapolis. Right away, he let us pet him and rub his belly. We all got comfortable very quickly.

Chewy is opening me up. Sometimes, he just sits there studying me, and I come over and pet him, and I can see he knows I care about him. I’m also teaching him to heel and giving him treats when he does it right. He loves giving us kisses and lying on top of Aiden, who’s 8, and making him laugh.

Because I have a dog now and put so much effort into training and taking care of him, it makes me think about how much time I could spend teaching and training my kids, helping them to be in this world. Not that I didn’t do this before, but this makes me stop and think more about things.

The other day as we took a break on our walk with Chewy, Isaac pulled out his cell phone. But I said, “Come on. Put it away. These walks are a time when we can talk.” So, he did. It was pretty cool. I think Chewy and these walks together will be something we’ll always remember.

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 Michael Copper won Homeward Bound Schnauzer Rescue in Annapolis, Maryland a 2016 Holiday Wishes award.