Bulldog's Love Helps Empty Nesters Adjust to New Life

By PetcoFoundation on Mar. 20, 2017


Each year, the Petco Foundation invites adopters to share the story of how their adopted pet changed their lives during the annual Holiday Wishes campaign. Susan Keating submitted this story about the dog she adopted from Long Island Bull Dog Rescue in Stony Brook, NY.

In 2013, our life in Maine started to transition and over the next year and a half, everything that could change would change.

My husband Pat took a job in New York City, my daughter Maggie was finishing high school and I was in the process of selling my floral business of 20 years. At that time, we had our beloved 13-year-old chocolate lab, Lily, who loved to roam through our flower gardens, swim through the water, chase our chickens and lounge on our beautiful properties in Maine.


When Maggie left for college, Pat and I became empty nesters. I sold my business, gave the chickens to friends, rented out our properties and left my friends to join Pat in New York City. Life, in every aspect, had changed. And then we lost our dear, Lily, over Thanksgiving. As we sobbed, we vowed "no more dogs!”

Fast forward six months and this dog-loving mom can’t help but start to sneak around the Long Island Bull Dog Rescue website. Of course, it was "just to look" but we all know how that goes.

Salty, the most adorable 35-pound bulldog, toddled into our apartment building escorted by her foster parents and we instantly melted. We stared into her huge brown eyes; she snorted and smiled. She was right at home on the Brooklyn sidewalks, and we all knew after our first hour together that we needed Salty as much as she needed a new home!


She is always ready for a good game of tug of war, some belly rubs, a back scratch, a walk or simply keeping our feet warm while watching a movie. Salty is one of my social lifelines in the city as her loving and approachable nature draw others to us. She even introduced us to our neighbors!

Salty uses her charms to soothe people with her loving, gentle, therapeutic nature. It’s incredible to watch Salty share her gift of love and acceptance with the world. With Salty, our home is never empty. She makes us feel as though we have a new toddler to raise and it fills us with joy as we welcome the responsibility.

There’s no doubt Salty was meant to join our family during our time of transition and loss. Her sweet nature, unbounded love and companionship have become our rock.

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