James lost his best friend, Janet, last month. He met her 27 years ago while living in Illinois, and due to their 30-year-age difference, James became like the son Janet had never had. The pair had a wonderful friendship and had even created a secret nickname for each other, “Pickles.” Whenever James saw anything with a pickle on it (an ornament, a giant greeting card, etc.) he would mail it to Janet to let her know he was thinking of her. Eventually James moved to Georgia, but he still received daily texts and calls from Pickles.
Last month, during Christmas week, James became concerned because his dear friend hadn’t texted or called for several days. And then, on December 22, he received the devastating news that she had passed away.
On December 30, when James was having a particularly rough week grieving over Janet and feeling bad he hadn’t been there to say goodbye, a picture of a seven-year-old shelter dog at FCAS popped up in his Facebook feed. The dog’s name was “Pickles.” James had contemplated getting a sibling for his seven-year-old rescue dog, Mr. Smiley, for over a year. And he didn’t mind adopting an older dog, because he wanted to play forward all the love and compassion that Mr. Smiley had given him to a dog who might get overlooked, but he hadn’t yet found “the one.”
James says that when he saw that picture of Pickles, a feeling of calm entered his heart. “I contacted the shelter right away and learned that most of Pickles’ teeth were broken or missing, so he could only eat canned food, and that he had some skin issues and an ear infection, but I didn’t bat an eyelash.”
James headed to the shelter with Mr. Smiley to meet Pickles. Normally super excited and hyper around other dogs, when Mr. Smiley met Pickles, they were both very calm and seemed to like each other. And while reviewing the paperwork, James learned something that he found serendipitous: Pickles had come into the shelter the day after he had received the news about Janet passing away.
“This dog came into the shelter one day later, someone there just happened to name him Pickles and he showed up on my Facebook timeline. Boom, boom and boom! I’m not religious, but I believe that Janet sent me this dog. I think it was her way of telling me to let go of my sadness over not saying goodbye,” he says. “This dog was meant to be in my life.”
Pickles has quickly adjusted to life with James and Mr. Smiley. “Having Pickles in my family has been an absolute joy. The first night he was here, he jumped up on the couch, kissed me for 20 minutes straight and knew he was home. Now Pickles snuggles right next to me whenever I am home, and the two dogs are getting along amazingly well.”
Best of all Pickles is helping James heal. “Whenever I think about Janet and get sad, I look into Pickles’ eyes and know that she is smiling down on me, and that I will be ok.”
Adoption has widespread benefits: from the person who adopts and receives all the love, to the pet that is saved, to the new arrival able to take that pet’s space. One adoption makes a big difference. Adopt. Save a life. And reap the dividends. You won’t be sorry, and your new family member will never let you forget how grateful they are.
There are many ways to be "IN" for a lifesaving community: Adopt, Donate, Spay/Neuter and Volunteer. James and Pickles story illustrates the life-changing power of adoption. How will you show you’re in for a no-kill Atlanta?