Two Castaways Flourish in a New Home Full of Love

By PetcoFoundation on Feb. 10, 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. Lauren Byrne submitted this story about the dog she adopted from LifeLine Animal Project in Atlanta, Georgia.

My story starts in the summer of 2011, when a woman noticed three skinny, scared pups sneaking into her backyard to steal her dog's food. She went out to see them and they bolted over her fence and into the woods. The next day they returned and again the day after that. She knew they needed help and decided to call her friends at LifeLine Animal Project to rescue them, and a team of dedicated staff members came out and waited patiently with yummy food for 8 hours until they had lured all the pups to safety. They decided to name these lost little adventurers after Gilligan's Island: Gilligan, Lovey and Skipper.

Six months later, my puppy fever hit an all-time high and my then-boyfriend gave in and agreed it was time to get a dog. An online search led us to Lovey, and it was love at first sight. She was nervous, but so well behaved, thanks to the excellent training LifeLine provided her. I knew she had to come home with us. She was so scared of people that she wasn't exactly Lovey, though, so we renamed her Finley.

A few weeks later, Finley helped her dad propose to me and made us all officially a family.

Over the next few months, Finley slowly got used to living in a home, but she was still scared of new things. The only time she came out of her shell was at the dog park, where she was truly a different dog. She was wild and carefree, running circles around the other dogs. She needed a friend, so back we went to LifeLine to adopt her a friend. That's when we found out her brother, Gilligan, had been returned to the shelter through no fault of his own.

A week later he came home with us, and the two have been best friends ever since.

A few years have passed and Finley and Gilligan have grown into happy, spoiled, silly (and lovey) pups who try new things all the time. They go to stores and restaurants and anywhere we're allowed to take them, and we’re always receiving compliments about how well behaved they are. I never imagined those scared little pups could come so far, and watching them blossom and support each other has changed me forever. I've learned to be more patient, that good things are worth waiting for, and that sometimes we just need time and a little love to open up.


Their incredible resilience also gave me the courage to make a new start for myself. I went back to law school and even started an Animal Law group to show classmates how to help animals like Finley and Gilligan. Now I get to do work I'm passionate about every day, and I have a much brighter future, all thanks to these two dogs and LifeLine Animal Project. I can never thank them enough.

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