Better Together

Anyone who has adopted a pet knows that they fill our lives with joy, happiness and love and that they can provide emotional support when we need it most. When Joanna visited the Buddy Center in Castle Rock, she was looking for the perfect companion to help her navigate a rough time in her life. “I had never had a dog before,” said Joanna. “But I knew adopting one would be good for me.”

And that’s when Joanna met Blue, a 1-year-old Labrador retriever mix who had arrived in Colorado earlier that week from PAAS Vinita, a partner shelter in Oklahoma. Blue was timid and a little unsure about the world around him, but he warmed up to Joanna very quickly. Joanna knew Blue was special and decided to take him home that day.

Together, Joanna and Blue learned to trust those around them. They ventured out of the house to explore dog parks and local breweries. “We learned together. I could not have found a better dog for me at that point in my life.”

Joanna decided to bring Blue into the Buddy Center a few months later to show the staff his incredible progress. Greeting strangers confidently with a wag in his tail and walking comfortably on a leash, Blue was a different dog.

Joanna shared how Blue helped her heal during a very difficult time and told them that Blue was about to enter training to be a therapy dog. An idea came to her during a chance encounter in which he comforted a stranger who had just experienced a loss. “The man told me that Blue seemed to know he was grieving.” Yes, Blue was special. Not only did he help Joanna find happiness, but together they would help others. “Nothing would make me happier than sharing him with others needing comfort.”

A few months later, Joanna wanted to pay it forward by adopting a dog who may have a little harder time finding a home and could be a friend to Blue. After searching the website the night before, Joanna and Blue headed back to the Buddy Center first thing in the morning and asked to meet Ruby—an Australian cattle dog mix who came from the same shelter in Oklahoma as Blue. Ruby wasn’t very interested in meeting Joanna, but when Blue entered the room, everything changed. “It was like a completely different dog appeared! Ruby immediately got up and started playing with Blue.” She knew Ruby was the one. “She warmed up to me within a day or two because she knew Blue and I were a package deal.”

Now Blue and Joanna are helping Ruby navigate the world, learning how to walk on a leash and trusting new people. Joanna reports that they’re already seeing great progress with Ruby. And they’re all very grateful to the Buddy Center for bringing them together.