Joy from a Rescue Dog

A little more than four years ago, I adopted a rescue dog. I fell madly in love with Abby immediately. The lopsided, extra-large tongue and the bugged-out eyes simply melted my heart. Coupled with her adorable piglet-size and endearingly sweet disposition, she makes friends wherever we go.

JoyFromARescueDogAbby and I met on a foggy San Francisco Sunday in the first days of January. We took a walk up a steep hill, stopping to investigate every smell and meet every stranger. Not for the first time in my life, I was struggling with feeling lost. Perhaps it’s because she too had been given up, we understood each other. Tiny as she was, Abby lifted me up, bringing light when there was only darkness, laughter and joy when there had only been tears.

We moved home with my mother a year later after some employment and economic difficulties. Though she’d enjoyed being a city dog, Abby was thrilled to have a grassy yard of her own. Just a few months later, my mother was diagnosed with an extremely rare brain cancer, and I became her full-time caregiver. Meanwhile, Abby has taken it as her personal mission to comfort and watch over my mother. After her brain surgery, Abby had to be coaxed from my mother’s hospital bed to eat or relieve herself. Throughout my mother’s recovery from surgery, radiation and then a minor stroke, Abby has been glued to her side, providing unconditional love and support. I’d swear there’s cosmic velcro between them.

We joke that Abby has an identity crisis — she waddles and snorts like a pig, meows like a cat, cuddles like a baby, snores like a sailor, and looks like a tiny cow. Despite being hilarious, Abby has a very calm spirit and would prefer a cuddle over a walk any day. Though she’s smaller than most cats, it doesn’t stop her from taking up serious bed space. We take more photos of Abby than we’ve ever taken of anything. Mostly I post them on Instagram so that my Facebook friends don’t get sick of me.

Answers to the most frequently asked questions about Abby…

  • DSC_0064_2Abby is a Bug (a Boston Bull Pug — that’s mostly Boston Bull Terrier with a bit of Pug, we think. She is a rescue, after all).
  • She’s not a puppy — she’s about 8ish, according to vets.
  • She’s named after Abby Sciuto, world-class forensic scientist and all-around kick-ass genius woman on NCIS. Sciuto’s funky goth style seemed to suit our Abby’s striking coloring, and we are huge fans!
  • Though we as a Nosy Parker family had previously been opposed to clothing on dogs, Abby gets cold and the vet recommended sweaters. (She therefore only has clothing items serving an actual need, they just also happen to be adorable and pink!)
  • Lastly, Abby goes nearly everywhere with us (Abby also loves Venice, Italy) because she is a registered Service Dog. (And though you may think you’re just being curious, asking a person what service their dog provides is not only rude, but is actually an invasion of their medical privacy.)


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