We all know about the 12 Days of Christmas—the famous holiday carol about a lucky recipient receiving a series of gifts from their loved one. Although gifts can be a nice gesture, most can agree that the true joy of Christmas is being able to spend time at home surrounded by friends and family. Pets are entitled to the same comforts during the holidays, but unfortunately for the thousands of abandoned pets across the country, this isn’t always the case.
There are those pets who are lucky enough to receive the gift of love during the holidays—including those who may have not been ever able to experience this luxury before. In light of the season of giving, we’re offering 12 heartwarming pet adoption stories. These once-abandoned pets finally found their forever homes and are able to spend this Christmas surrounded by the best gift of all—love.
Don’t let the name fool you: Dave is a girl. And the sweet, cuddly black Lab mix ended up with the name in a fun way. “My husband wanted a dog named Dave, and I came home with a female dog,” says Dave’s mom, Anna. “It was kind of a joke at first and we tried other names, but Dave stuck; it suits her.”
Dave’s pet rescue dog story had a bit of a rocky start. “She was found wandering in the desert, was 20 pounds underweight, was covered in fleas, and had horrible kennel cough,” Anna explains. She spent the first 3 weeks in a high-kill dog shelter before the Milo Foundation rescued her. “I was at Milo to meet another dog, and they brought her in from a high-kill dog shelter, and I wouldn’t even let them bring her to her kennel; I had to bring her home.”
Before the shelter, Dave’s dog story is a bit of a mystery. For a long time, she was physically stiff. She wouldn’t go upstairs or jump into the car, and Anna had to teach her to jump onto things to boost her confidence. “When we got her, we thought she was a senior dog, but as the months went by, she really came out of her shell, and our vet thinks she’s more like 2 or 3,” Anna explains.
Once Dave relaxed, she transformed into a sweet, fun, very easy to train dog. “I think it’s tempting with a pet from a dog shelter to let them do whatever they want, because you feel so bad. But it’s important that they feel safe, and that means they know where they need to be and where their food is coming from,” says Anna. These days, Dave knows exactly where her home is, and she has an endless supply of love.
See the next adoption story: Gracie’s Transformation
Diana Bocco is a full-time writer and adventurer who has written for National Geographic, DiscoveryChannel.com, Yahoo! and Marie Claire. Diana has lived in five countries and taken her rescued dogs along to each one of them.