Rescue Story: Zuko


Thank you Paula for sharing your rescue story and for saving Zuko! He’s adorable!

I adopted Zuko on August 24th, 2014, when he was about five years old. He is a Shih Tzu/Llhasa Apso mix.

At the time, I was at a low point in my life. I was in college, struggling with severe PTSD from being bullied throughout middle and high school. My doctor recommended a service dog since I seemed to do better when I was taking care of something or someone else, like a pet, and because we could train the dog to perform certain tasks I needed at the time.
Because my insurance would not cover a service dog for my situation, I tried to raise the $15,000 on my own. However, it was too much money to fundraise by myself. I needed a dog right away, so my family and I decided to look for a dog to adopt that was trainable to be my service animal.
I looked throughout different pet search engines until I found a dog I liked. He was going to be in an adoption fair the next day. My parents and I planned to be the first ones there to look at him. When we arrived the next day, the foster family with the dog I was interested in was running late. As we were waiting, my mom spotted a small white dog alone in his own pen. She called me over; she then picked him up and handed him to me.
I had never felt such a connection before. He was so thin and scared, but with me, he felt comfortable enough to sleep on my shoulder as we waited for the other dog. By the time the other dog came, I was already in love with this dog.
I named him Zuko after Prince Zuko from the TV show “Avatar: The Last Airbender”, since he didn’t respond to the name he had. I learned with him that I didn’t need him to perform tasks for me after all–just having him cuddle me, follow me, and letting me spoil him helped me feel ten times better.
Zuko is more than just my pet dog; he is my amazing emotional support dog and doggy son.

Our Adopt Don’t Shop shirts are the perfect way to spread the word about adopting dogs in need of a home and ending unnecessary euthanizations. Get one here to wear on Adopt a Shelter Pet Day (April 30) and help us raise funds for the ASPCA.

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