Photo by Cybelle Codish
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 covering 12 heartwarming pet adoption stories that feature once-abandoned pets who finally found their forever homes and are able to spend this Christmas surrounded by the best gift of all—love.
When Gus first laid eyes on Aimee Spencer, he knew she was his person.
In fact, when Spencer visited a pet store during a pet rescue event that Gus was a part of, Gus actually escaped the fencing to chase her through the store, Spencer says. “I picked him up and brought him back to the pet rescue’s area. I told the puppy, ‘You’re so cute, but I can’t handle a puppy right now,’” Spencer says.
The volunteer then told Spencer Gus’ amazing dog story: he was 2 years old, and was one of the 47 dogs found in Kentucky in a hoarding situation. “He had never really been held; he was timid, and very scared,” she says.
After leaving the store, Spencer couldn’t get Gus out of her thoughts. It only took her 3 hours to realize that she needed Gus in her life. She returned to the pet store, “and, well, the rest is history,” she says.
Five months after the adoption, Spencer was working on a project for one of her clients. Two days before the shoot, the Creative Director asked Spencer to find a dog that can be featured in their national TV commercial. After jokingly suggesting that Gus be used for the shot, Spencer was asked if she could submit a picture of Gus for review. “A day later I received a call: ‘They’re going with Gus—he needs to be in Chicago in 3 days to shoot.”
Gus did amazingly well during the commercial shoot, a success that Spencer partly attributes to the presence of prosciutto on set. “I know I’m Gus’ mom, but he was a natural,” she says.
Besides the dog treats offered to Gus, his general openness to others came about thanks to Spencer and her husband’s dedication to socializing the pup. “We go to the dog park every single night. I take him to run errands,” she says. She recalls a time when Gus didn’t do well around kids. “He was very hesitant around children. I actually brought in a dog behaviorist to help us learn boundaries and confidence,” she says.
Between daily outings and working with a specialist, you would never know that Gus had once experienced a difficult past. He now lives in Spencer’s home with two other pups and Spencer’s husband.
Spencer says that getting Gus has been one of the best decisions she’s ever made in her life. “I am his person,” she says.
See the next adoption story: Nico Adopted After Roaming Streets