Bulldog Gives Woman Love and Support After the Loss of her Father

Puddin showed her pet mom Tiffany that with time and patience, life moves forward—and the very best friendships can blossom.

Tiffany + Puddin’

Adopting a dog was new territory for Tiffany, who lost her father mere days after bringing Puddin home. But her father’s advice—that it takes patience—stuck with her, and Puddin soon became a joyful, comforting family member. 

"One year later, Puddin is still why I get up every morning. She greets me with a huge smile and wiggles her irresistible curlicue tail when I put on her harness."

In September 2020, I adopted Puddin: an American Bully described to me as a lowrider with an irresistible curlicue tail and an insatiable appetite for treats. Two days later, we got in the car and drove to my parents’ house in New Jersey; my mother had called me that morning to tell me through tears that my father had unexpectedly passed away.

What would follow was a week of sleeping on a twin mattress in my childhood bedroom with my new, 55-pound dog. She sat at my feet as we made funeral arrangements and was there the morning we somehow found the energy to get out of bed to attend the service we had cobbled together in a daze.

The day that I adopted Puddin, I was incredibly overwhelmed. She didn’t appear to be as housebroken as described and was struggling to understand that my New York City balcony was not, as it turns out, the outside. My father loved dogs, and the last time we spoke he gave me some advice on how to make potty training a bit easier. He ended our conversation by saying: “It takes patience, baby. Hang in there. I love you.”

When we got back to New York, I anticipated that it would be impossible to get out of bed the next morning. I lived alone and had been working from home because of COVID-19 for over a year. I’ve struggled with depression for most of my life, and the added weight of losing my father so suddenly and the complexity of grief made me feel oddly numb. I did, however, have a dog that needed to go outside. So, we got up.

One year later, Puddin is still why I get up every morning. She greets me with a huge smile and wiggles her irresistible curlicue tail when I put on her harness. She sleeps beside me, lies at my feet while I work, and hops on the couch with me the second I close my computer at the end of the day. She leans her big, lowrider body on me when it’s storming outside and she’s scared. She has brought so much joy to my life and to the lives of everyone who knows her. She has been an incredible source of comfort to my mom, who babysits her regularly so that she can give her a big squeeze whenever she’s missing my dad.

As I approach the year anniversary of my father’s passing, I’m filled with the same thought that I had this time last year: how hard will it be to get out of bed? But two days before that, I’ll be celebrating the anniversary of adopting my best friend, as well as the fact that I had patience and hung in there. It was the best advice I ever got.

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 Tiffany won Rescue City in Brooklyn, New York a 2021 Love Stories award.