Adopted Senior Dog Brings a Widow Hope and Joy

Hope and her husband gave 12-year-old Kita a second chance at a loving home. In turn, Kita became Hope’s steadfast companion.

Hope + Kita

When Hope and her husband Jim adopted Kita, they wanted to give her a second chance at a loving home and a happy life. Later, Kita would become the second chance at love and companionship that Hope needed most.

"When they brought Kita out to meet with us, my husband immediately fell in love. Kita was a grand dog. He spoke to her in a low voice and hugged her large girth. My husband explained that we wanted a dog that no one else wanted and would give her a good home with the love and affection she deserved. "

I still remember the day we adopted Kita. We left our home on Albuquerque’s west side, crossed the Rio Grande, and headed to the Animal Humane campus. She was a big hound dog and at 12 years old, was looking for a home and a new lease on life. And we wanted to give her just that. That afternoon, we were also celebrating the good news that my husband’s cancer treatment was going well, and we were feeling very thankful.

When they brought Kita out to meet with us, my husband, Jim, immediately fell in love. Kita was a grand dog. He spoke to her in a low voice and hugged her large girth. My husband explained that we wanted a dog that no one else wanted and would give her a good home with the love and affection she deserved.

And that was it—we adopted Kita on that blustery Thanksgiving Eve in 2019. Driving home, I could tell things had already changed in our lives. Kita’s presence calmed my husband, and he was happy again; he had something to look forward to when he slid out of bed in the early morning and worked on his computer while sipping coffee. Kita would follow behind, lie in the corner of the room, soon sleeping soundly. She learned that the doggy door was her doorway to the backyard, a new world yet to be discovered where she could wander and then come back into the house at her leisure. And she looked forward to her walks with us around the neighborhood and to the local park. Kita brought both joy and a sense of purpose back into our lives.

In early December, my husband was hospitalized with complications from his cancer treatment. We celebrated our wedding anniversary in his ICU room. He told me he was so glad we’d adopted Kita, that I wasn’t alone in our big house. What we thought would be a short stay turned out to be the last weeks of his life.

Through all the sadness and grief that followed, Kita kept me grounded, giving purpose to each day’s routine. Her quiet calm helped ease the pain, and the wag of her tail and excitement when I’d return from work brought a smile to my face, bringing a sense of hope back into my life.

I worked remotely during COVID-19 lockdown, and my brother’s dog, Duchess, became Kita’s daily companion and playmate. Kita is now 14, feeling her age with every step. She still looks forward to walks in the park, but now prefers to lie under a shady tree and watch teenage boys perform drills as they get ready for the fall football season. On that Thanksgiving Eve in 2019, when we adopted Kita, we promised to give her a good life, and Kita has returned that ten-fold. By allowing me to love her, Kita has brought joy back into my life.

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 Hope won Animal Humane New Mexico in Albuquerque, New Mexico a 2021 Love Stories award.