Adopted Dog Brings Love and Care to Woman’s Dad in his Final Months

Natalie and Dana were delighted to adopt Pinto Bean, a Jack Russell Terrier who quickly bonded her pet moms and brought joy to Natalie’s elderly father.

Natalie + Pinto Bean

Pinto Bean seemed to stroll into Natalie and Dana’s lives for a reason, surprising Natalie with a chance meeting at the Humane Society where she volunteered. Then Pinto brought love and care to Natalie’s elderly father in his final months, comforting her family and providing steadfast support.

"The love bond was so special for us, but little did I know there was someone else whose life would be changed by dear Pinto. I took her to meet my 91-year-old dad who lived in an assisted living facility. I knew dad loved dogs, but Pinto jumped right on his lap and would stay there for hours."

I began volunteering at the Muskegon Humane Society in 2018. I would walk dogs in the backwoods and enjoyed the one-on-one time with them. My partner, Dana, and I were not considering adoption at that time, but we both love dogs and Dana would often ask about my time there.

In July 2019 I went to volunteer on a Friday, planning for a usual walking experience. But much to my delight and surprise, a little Jack Russell Terrier named Pinto captured my heart. I’d never had a small dog before, but there was an instant bond. I could not get her off my mind as I walked the other dogs that day. Dana and I went back the next morning and brought her home soon after. We called her Pinto Bean.

The love bond was so special for us, but little did I know there was someone else whose life would be changed by dear Pinto. I took her to meet my 91-year-old dad who lived in an assisted living facility. I knew dad loved dogs, but Pinto jumped right on his lap and would stay there for hours… whether in his chair, a ride in the car, or in bed, Pinto Bean loved being near dad, and dad was able to escape his troubles when Pinto was around.

Dad’s decline continued this year. Happiness was hard to find, but then there was Pinto… in the most difficult of times, she was there for him and for all of us. I have no doubt that Pinto came into our lives for many reasons, but the love and care she provided to my dad in his final months of life will never be forgotten.

Dad died in August, and I’m thankful I walked Pinto that morning and that she became such a special part of our family.

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 Natalie won Humane Society and Animal Rescue of Muskegon County in Muskegon, Michigan a 2021 Love Stories award.