After the Sudden Loss of their Son, an Adopted Dog Brings Love and Healing

For Kris’s family, Daisy’s unconditional love, happiness, and high energy helped them find joy in the midst of grief.

Kris + Daisy

When Kris’s family lost their teenage son to suicide, the grief was unfathomable. But then they adopted Daisy, the happiest dog —and with Daisy’s love, encouragement, and playful antics, their family began to heal. 

"My family is in love with Daisy, but no one more than me. She has literally brought me out of the depths of despair and shown me more unconditional loving than any living human. She knows exactly when I need her most."

 

My 15-year-old son, Nikolai, died by suicide on June 20, 2019. A year before Nikolai’s death, our family had been talking about adopting another dog. We had lost one of our two Weimaraners and our remaining dog looked lonely. However, it just never seemed like the right time.

And then Nikolai died. The grief of losing a child, a brother, was immense and unfathomable. Our family of five became a family of four and we were broken.

The day before our family was going to walk a 5k to raise funds for suicide prevention, my 14-year-old son said, “I think we should go to a shelter and look at dogs.” I don’t know why, but it just felt right and so we went to K-9 Rescue in Oxford, Michigan.

There was something about Daisy. Something in her face, something in her eyes, that spoke to me. My family agreed and we took her home. She walked in that suicide prevention 5k with us the very next day.

We call her Crazy Daisy because she has crazy amounts of energy, and crazy amounts of love to give. She is the dog version of our Nikolai to a T. She loves to run and wrestle, go for walks, and most of all play with and fetch her squeaky Kong tennis balls. When we took her for obedience training, the trainer said he had never seen a happier dog. She literally looks like she is smiling all the time.

My family is in love with Daisy, but no one more than me. She has brought me out of the depths of despair and shown me more unconditional loving than any living human. She knows exactly when I need her most.

I started running again and she became my running buddy. I started hiking in all our local state parks and she is the one who walks by my side while I pray, reflect, and cry. I wish I could put exactly into words what she has done for me, but I can’t. Daisy is pure love, and she has quite literally saved me.

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 Kris won K-9 Stray Rescue League in Oxford, Michigan a 2021 Love Stories award.