Bolt the Dog Shows Man in Recovery the Power of Unconditional Love

Nicholas’ sobriety journey brought him to Bolt, a rescued dog with a wide smile and a heart full of gratitude for a fresh start.

Nicholas + Bolt

Nicholas’ journey of sobriety led him to volunteer to help animals in need, where he met a dog named Bolt. While both Bolt and Nicholas had a challenging past, Bolt showed Nicholas that everyone is deserving of love—no matter what they’ve been through.

"The first time Bolt walked up to my editing chair and put his big, dopey, smiley face on my lap and raised his paw to ask for love, I knew how much we both loved and needed each other. He’s my best friend."

 

It had been just about two years since I put the bottle down for good and everything in my life was steady. Job, passions, family life… but something was missing. I was grateful for the new life I’d been given a chance to live, but I wasn’t sharing anything, I wasn’t giving back and little by little my gratitude was waning.

I thought about adopting a dog but didn’t think I was worthy of that. In my alcoholic career, I’d had to adopt my dog Johnny out to a family, and while he was loved and had all of the attention he could ask for from them, I felt like I had betrayed him. I felt like I didn’t deserve the love of a dog again.

But I could attempt to make my amends by volunteering at least, right? That’s when I found Dawgz, Tailz & Wagz. So many dogs, oh my… why don’t they have homes? I thought, “Whether I deserve love is irrelevant. These dogs deserve love.” After consideration, I met Bob at the shelter about a dog named Bolt. 

He was so sweet! Bob told me Bolt didn’t like or trust just about anyone and had a history of abuse, but I never saw that side of Bolt. An hour after Bob brought him to my home Bolt was smiling, playing, loving, and happy. This beautiful soul deserved to be loved, not beaten. I narrate and edit audiobooks and the first time Bolt walked up to my editing chair (which I am usually glued to) and put his big, dopey, smiley face on my lap and raised his paw to ask for love, I knew how much we both loved and needed each other. Bolt does this every single day. I can see his gratitude, and I think he understands mine as he’s a profound part of it. He’s my best friend.

While Bolt’s electric love fills my heart beyond the brim, it also hurts knowing that while Bob and his shelter do the best they can (paying for meds after a dog’s adoption, paying out of their personal pockets to house new dogs with nowhere else to go, taking dogs into their homes despite already having so many), there’s so much more to do, and so much help that’s needed. These dogs go from barely hanging on to their lives to being incredible, trained, and loving beings—and they all deserve a second chance. I volunteer with Bob now to help be a catalyst that changes more lives than ever—like it did mine. 

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 Nicholas won Dawgz, Tailz & Wagz in Phoenix, Arizona a 2021 Love Stories award.