Adopted Dog Teaches Pet Mom To Look Past Appearances and Trust Her Heart

By taking a chance on a dog named Ben, Emily opened her life to more happiness than she ever thought possible.

Emily + Ben

When Emily met Ben, she was looking for a Retriever—but she decided to trust the feeling in her heart over the vision in her head. That life lesson brought her and Ben tremendous joy and paved the way for Emily to meet her future husband, too.

"His big brown eyes looked up at me as one of his white socks pawed at the kennel door. I was smitten. Disregarding the vision I had in my head, fate stepped in and brought me the best companion that day."

When I was looking for my first dog post-college graduation, I had a certain “look” in mind: a dopey Labrador. I spent months searching the local shelters and scrolling through pictures on rescue organization websites. In January 2018, I made a last-minute decision to visit a new shelter, Operation Kindness.

As I walked down the kennels I was immediately drawn to a black long-haired Retriever. His kennel was surrounded with people admiring his beauty. Patiently waiting my turn, I decided to say hello to the dog next door. Ben was an underweight, lanky Boxer mix with white sock feet. His profile card said he was friendly, loved to play fetch, and was housebroken. His big brown eyes looked up at me as one of his white socks pawed at the kennel door. I was smitten. Disregarding the vision I had in my head, fate stepped in and brought me the best companion that day.

Bringing Ben home was one of the best feelings I’ve ever had. I was a single twenty-something with a cool apartment in downtown Dallas, and now I had a sidekick to enjoy it with.

Since that day, Ben has been a part of every journey. He’s ventured to Alabama to visit my alma matter. He’s made the hike to California where he spent brunches in Hollywood and afternoons at the dog beach. Ben has even had a “breed reveal” where it turns out that he’s not a Boxer at all but a Great Dane/Pitbull mix (or “Great Pit” as we like to call him). And I can’t tell you how many times we’ve played fetch!

But nothing compares to the level of companionship Ben has brought me. Ben has been there to celebrate successful job interviews, birthdays, and happy hours on patios. But he’s also been there for the heartbreaks and the loneliness that come with dating and living alone in a big city away from family. He was the velcro dog I needed when sadness hit. 

My experience adopting Ben has now come full circle. Just like I had a vision in my head about my future dog, I had a vision in my head about my future husband (and loud, flashy bald guy wasn’t it). I was looking for “my type” and boy did fate surprise me when Ben walked up to this man at the dog park begging to play fetch. Again, I relied on the feeling in my heart rather than the vision in my head. Ben found my future husband, and Ben was there when he proposed.

Ben and I no longer live in our cool downtown apartment. Instead, we live in the suburbs with a big, beautiful yard. Ben has a dad who will play endless games of fetch with him and a fur sibling for when he gets lonely. I don’t have the loneliness of living in a big city anymore, but I still have the companionship of the world’s best dog.

Each year, Petco Love Stories invites adopters to share how their pets have changed their lives to give the organizations that they’ve adopted from the chance to receive grant awards. This story by Emily won Operation Kindness in Carrollton, Texas a 2021 Love Stories award.