Foster Dog Inspires Pet Mom to Find a New Lease on Life

Yvette and a senior dog named Poochie became best friends in healing their hearts, living in the moment, and appreciating their newfound family.

Yvette + Poochie

When recovering from heart surgery, Yvette found that helping someone else was a surefire way to pull herself out of cardiac depression. Enter Poochie, a senior dog who needed a second chance—and who showed her how to appreciate every moment together. 

"Poochie was a weathered lady who was heartbroken from losing her home. I was sliding into cardiac depression, as is common after major cardiac events. After my many bouts with cardiac depression, I have found that helping others is a great way to help oneself."

I have a congenital heart disease that has me perpetually wondering how much more life I have left. In 2018, my beloved dog Crunchie died of heart failure and it was all too much for me to handle. The guilt of knowing we shared a cardiac ailment and watching him die hit very close to home.

In 2019, I had my heart re-started 14 times in a six-month period as I waited until I could get into Mayo to get my heart fixed. For me, it’s always a surprise when I survive. As I sat home recovering, I started to feel the tug of missing having a small dog. I agonized over adopting and then possibly dying and leaving the animal behind to be re-homed.

I reached out to One Tail at Time and inquired about fostering. I was not in a condition to get a puppy. I needed a dog that went at a slower pace. I was matched with a 9-year-old senior Shih Tzu/Maltese mix with arthritis whose family was giving her up. She went straight from her former family to my home with just a quick stop at the shelter for shots.

Poochie was a weathered lady who was heartbroken from losing her home. I was sliding into cardiac depression, as is common after major cardiac events. After my many bouts with cardiac depression, I have found that helping others is a great way to help oneself. I worked hard every day to cheer up my new foster dog. We took long-in-duration, short-in-distance walks. She found every McDonald’s French fry container ever littered in my neighborhood. She scream-barked with such intensity and ferocity at squirrels. Soon she forgot about her previous life and started to enjoy her new life, and I learned to live in the moment and not worry so much about dying because everyone will die eventually.

I signed the adoption papers and with a new life came a new beginning for both of us. 

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 Yvette won One Tail at a Time in Chicago, Illinois a 2021 Love Stories award.