As we come to the end of our month focusing on the relationships between dogs and their people. I wanted to highlight some of the special stories I’ve come across that exemplify our belief that dogs are family just like our human family members. My story is at the end.

Rocky and Rita – when love trumps fear

10 Heartwarming Stories of Human-Animal Friendship – there is a dog on this list as well as other animals who amaze us with their compassion.

Abby and Tina – from Tina’s perspective

5 Dog Stories with a little bit of everything – stories of love and healing

My story – I often speak about how Jake inspired me to become a dog trainer and I recently posted about our adoption story. What I seldom tell people and will briefly mention here to spare you all the gory details. I hesitate even now to share this story because it is so deeply personal and not who I am today but it does speak to the transformative power of a dog’s love so out of respect for Jake and what he has done for me outside of my professional life I will tell you.

I adopted Jake to keep myself from committing suicide.

I was in a deep clinical depression and had been for some time when I became afraid I might take drastic steps to end my pain. I knew if I was responsible for an animal I would not abandon it. So I adopted Jake. I’m sure my depression was the cause of some of our problems in the beginning but Jake’s joyfulness and capacity for love and forgiveness touched me in a way nothing else ever has or possibly will. He taught me something about love that I didn’t believe existed. He taught me life was worth living even with all of it’s pain because there was also joy. He taught me patience, gave me an outlet for expressing my feelings, renewed my strength and gave me the courage to seek treatment for the depression that turned out to be caused by a chemical imbalance, chronic pain and Thyroid disease.

Today, almost ten years later, I am happy and healthy. Jake is still by my side and I believe we still love each other more than life itself. I’m profoundly grateful to this animal who, although he never applied for the job of my savior, performed the duties impeccably and makes the world a better place just by existing.