Adopted Puppy Becomes Man’s Christmas Miracle

A serendipitous meeting led Dwight to adopt a puppy named Buddy, starting a friendship that would bring healing and love to their family.

Dwight + Buddy

Dwight was volunteering at the Humane Society of Tampa Bay, a decision he made in memory of his late son, when a puppy arrived at the shelter. For Dwight, adopting Buddy felt like it was meant to be—a “Christmas miracle” that brought healing to his family. 

"As I said before, dogs can heal a broken heart and this “Christmas miracle” healed mine. As soon as we got him home, I started to see behaviors and personality traits that were so much like my son’s it amazed me."

The story has been told countless times about how dogs have the unique ability to heal broken hearts. My wife and I tragically lost our beloved son in 2009 at the age of 31. Precious, his dog, was everything the name implies. She was the love of our lives and spent hours swimming in our pool and spending time with us at our home. When we lost our son, she became a permanent member of our family. Sadly, Precious developed bladder cancer and we lost her in 2013. I was devastated and felt I had lost the last living link to my son.

My story begins here when my “Christmas miracle” entered my life. In memory of my son, who had a deep passion for animals, I began volunteering at the Humane Society of Tampa Bay shortly after my son’s passing. I saw first-hand the wide spectrum of emotion from the sadness of owners losing their beloved pets to illness, to the pure joy of adopting a new pet.

While decorating the gazebo, which I had built in my son’s memory for the Christmas holidays, a car pulled into the parking lot at the shelter and a young mother got out of her car with a small pup in her arms. Through her tears, she asked where she could drop off her dog. My wife thought the pup might be ill, but the owner explained that they purchased the dog a couple of weeks prior, but her family did not have any time for the new puppy. I took one look at this beautiful dog and fell in love immediately.

As I said before, dogs can heal a broken heart and this “Christmas miracle” healed mine. As soon as we got him home, I started to see behaviors and personality traits that were so much like my son’s it amazed me. My son always called me “Bud,” so I knew immediately what his name was going to be: BUDDY! Buddy is so full of life, wants every toy in the store, every treat he can get, and never stops loving life. Buddy even shares my son’s favorite fun-loving philosophy: “I want it all.” 

Buddy is now almost 6 years old, and I could never imagine life without him. He goes everywhere with me and especially likes to go to hardware stores. He loves riding around and visiting with all the shoppers and employees. He loves to sit in my lap in the car when we first get in and thinks he is going to drive. The bond we share is very hard to describe and put into words, but hopefully, through this story, someone who has lost a loved one or a dear pet will understand the power that dogs possess to heal broken hearts.

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 Dwight won Humane Society of Tampa Bay in Tampa, Florida a 2021 Love Stories award.