Kathryn + Dinah

“Sweet, goofy girl” reminds adopted woman that everyone is worthy of love.

Kathryn + Dinah

I am an adoptee that came to the U.S. as an infant. I know there is a family out there who relinquished me. Growing up, I dealt with what it meant to belong and the true meaning of family.

I was lucky. I received unconditional love from a family that took me in and showed me nothing but kindness. I always wanted to repay that kindness forward.

"Something about her tugged deeply at my heart, and I knew she had to be mine."

When my husband and I decided to get a dog, we initially thought we wanted a designer or trendy dog, like a French bulldog. Instead, he convinced me to go to an adoption event at Petco to meet some available dogs. I was skeptical, but I went and immediately noticed a pit bull mix, separated from the others and wearing a yellow jacket that said, “Adopt Me.”

Something about her tugged deeply at my heart, and I knew she had to be mine. The rescue group told me she had been pregnant, was aggressive towards other dogs and had been found abandoned in Mexico. They took her in, helped her deliver her pups and found homes for each of them. Week after week, she remained at the shelter because no one wanted a dog with dog aggression.

She was lucky, like me, because she had a foster family who kept bringing her to adoption events to find a home. I believe she was waiting for us, just like my parents were waiting for me.

It may sound odd, but having Dinah in my life renewed my belief that family is not genetic. Family is the unconditional commitment of loving and caring for another being. Knowing that it just takes one person to open their heart is what made the difference in my life here in America. I wanted to do the same for Dinah and all the hearts she would eventually meet.

Dinah is not just a sweet, goofy girl, she is a symbol to all of us that no matter what issues you have or stigmas you may carry, everyone is worthy of love.

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Each year, Petco Love invites adopters to share the story of how their adopted pet changed their lives during the annual Holiday Wishes campaign, giving the organization that they adopted from a chance to receive a grant award. This story by Kathryn Flores won Baja Dog Rescue in San Ysidro, California a 2016 Holiday Wishes award.