How should I start this story? The first time she ran away? The second time she went AWOL? The time I needed to cry and she nestled up against me and let me hug her and ball my eyes out?

​I guess I’ll start from the beginning. Early last year I was going through a rough breakup. I felt myself starting to slide down the rabbit hole. I have dealt with depression for decades, so I thought I needed to get out of the house and do something helpful. I had worked with the PACK a few years earlier, so thought I’d get myself out there and volunteer again.

The first time I saw Missy, it was at a donation drive in the Xinyi area. She largely ignored me. I thought she was a calm dog and looked a bit old. It wasn’t love at first sight. I took her for a walk and she was a little stubborn, but generally well behaved. We parted ways after the event, and I didn’t give her a second thought.

Then a few months later, she came to my house as a foster dog. The first time Missy stayed over, she gave me a huge scare. When the person who dropped her off left, she jumped on the ledge of my balcony. I gasped out loud as I live on the fifth floor. She took one look down and thought better of it. Phew.

A few days after that, I took her to an event. She had a new harness on that, frankly, was not properly secured. When we were on a walk, she decided she didn’t want to go back and slipped the harness. Just when I thought I had her cornered, she jumped a five-foot wall and down the other side. Thankfully she was found later that night.

After staying with me for a few weeks, we slowly began to understand each other. I realized she’s a calm and smart dog. She never barked and most of the time just lay in her spot and chilled. Occasionally when the mood struck her, she would come over and demand to be petted.

After one of those days, I really needed to cry. I guess she sensed my sadness, so she came over and put her face right next to me. I just broke down and let out all the emotions that had been building up. She just sat there and let me hug her and cry for 20 minutes. After that, she lay down on my lap and watched over me for the rest of the evening.

When I started this journey, I used volunteering as a cheap form of therapy. Playing with and petting dogs have a wonderful calming effect. Without the dogs at the PACK I don’t think I would have recovered so quickly. For that I am grateful. Animals can be a great tool for healing your soul. They show you that love can be unconditional, and they can comfort you when they sense you are hurting. They are not a substitute for real therapy, but they are a great source of extra emotional support.

Now for the fairy-tale ending. My birthday was in November and for my birthday wish, I wished that Missy would find a forever home. The very next day, my wish came true. I went to visit her a month after that. I was happy to see that she has a whole family to love her now.
Letting her go was emotional for me, but it gives me the chance to foster other wonderful dogs we have at the PACK and help them to find the loving families they all deserve. Thank you, Missy. You are the best girl in the world.

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