How Adoption Can Change Your Life
Our wonderful family dog Twister passed away from cancer in the fall of 2014, just before the holidays. We were saddened by his passing but were grateful to have had him as part of our family!
This is not just a story of losing our family dog; it’s a testament of how he brought so much joy and love to each of us, and how he inspired us in many ways we didn’t see coming.
My sons, Daniel, Bryce, and I had Twister in our lives for 14 years after adopting him in June 2000 from an adoption fair at a local pet store in Franklin, Tennessee. He was a mixed breed, around 8 weeks old and the one of three siblings that barked the loudest in the playpen. Bryce picked him up and didn’t want to put him down, promising to feed him and give him fresh water each day if only we could take him home. I couldn’t say no and felt it would be good for Bryce to learn some responsibility and have a dog to play with after school.
While there at the adoption fair we learned how Twister came to be put up for adoption. He, his two siblings and mom were rescued by a fireman during the May 2000 tornados. The mom named “Stormy” had taken her three puppies down into a drain to wait out the storm.
With Twister’s loss comes a new kind of understanding. After his passing, I realized that I had to “do something” so his life wasn’t wasn’t in vain.
Twister brought so much love and happiness during the 14 years he was with us. With this, I knew I wanted to help other dogs feel loved while waiting to find their forever family – and from that, our Twister leaves a kind of legacy inspiring others in addition to the strong legacy he leaves us who knew him.
“When I first heard of ‘Tails of the Trails’ walking and helping shelter dogs find loving homes, I knew this was something that I had to be a part of!”
Twister inspired me to volunteer with shelter dogs and promote the adoption of shelter dogs. When I first heard of ‘Tails of the Trails’ walking and helping shelter dogs find loving homes, I knew this was something that I had to be a part of! My first event in July 2015 was so much fun. I so enjoyed taking hundreds of photos showing how happy and loved the shelter dogs were while walking along the trails with their volunteer caretakers.
The big smiles on everyone’s face spoke volumes as the volunteers shared lots of treats and lots of love while caring for their pooch. The furry face lickers and tail waggers were so grateful for the time spent walking, big hugs and the delicious homemade yogurt and peanut butter treats shared at the end of each hike. It was amazing to see how such a simple deed eased the fear and anxiety helping the dogs feel love and encouragement that their new ‘forever family’ would soon find them.
Twister also inspired me to make some changes in my own life after his death, highlighting what’s important and that life is very short in the grand scheme of things.
He gave me a life that was worth so much more than it did previous to adopting him. It gave me a clear sense of meaning and purpose, which was to help other dogs that are less fortunate and homeless with no one to love.
“Twister gave me a clearer sense of meaning and purpose, which was to help other dogs that are less fortunate and homeless with no one to love”
Early in February 2015 my son, Bryce adopted Sophia, a black lab, pit bull mix. She’s so loving and full of energy she can’t stop wiggling from head to paws with happiness when he brings her over. She now gets to enjoy evening walks with the family and socializing with other dogs at the dog park.
In October 2015, I stopped by an animal shelter in Murfreesboro just to look and maybe take a dog out for a short walk. While walking around the caged dogs, I noticed a small white puppy looking straight up at me with the most beautiful brown eyes. Reaching into the cage, I picked her up to take her outside for fresh air and a brief walk. She had just been spayed and didn’t feel well. Her fur was so fluffy and soft as she snuggled up laying her face as close to mine on my shoulder. When I looked at her she looked back with those big brown eyes as if saying don’t leave me. And I couldn’t.
Not intending on adopting that day, I just couldn’t put her back in that cage. So I adopted her. During the drive home I kept staring at her wondering what was she thinking. Was she happy? With an occasional glance she slept in the front seat the entire trip home. Her forever home. Bella, a Great Pyrenees mix was eight weeks old. Now that she was home, I couldn’t image life without her.
Three months later came Chanel. Chanel was a hybrid mix half Newfoundland, half Bernese Mountain dog. An elderly couple adopted her but had to give her up as their health was not the best making it impossible to keep her. She was 3 months when I adopted her. Today Bella and Chanel are BFFs. They are so happy and I love them incredibly.
Later that year, my son Daniel, took in a stray pit bull. Found on the side of the street with cropped ears and a docked tail. Stitches made from fishing line still in both ears, this puppy had been dropped most likely after losing an illegal dog fight. While dog fighting is a felony in the United States, it continues underground illegally.
Daniel immediately took him to the veterinarian for medicine and weekly skin treatments thereafter due to a painful and severe skin rash that had taken over his entire body leaving the skin inflamed and bare with some areas raw and bleeding. His hair was completely gone.
After several months of treatments and tender loving care Ricco was beginning to look better. Despite all this dog had been through he is incredibly loving and such a loyal companion.
Family holidays are very lively with all our adopted pets having the best time playing and just being happy lovable dogs. Lot’s of playful banter, tail wagging, butt sniffs, peeing and more sniffs. Yes, our family continues to carry out Twister’s legacy.
Fourteen years flew by too fast. While our newest family members will never be a replacement for Twister as he is irreplaceable, but a reassertion of all that Twister stood for: an incalculable blessing to inspire future adoptions.
I can go on, and on, and on about all the wonderful experiences Twister brought into our lives. Many of the memories that each of us carry will remain in our hearts for an eternity. And for that, I am forever grateful to that puppy who barked the loudest, was abandoned until fate brought us together in June 2000. A day that would forever change the course of our lives.