“Once you have had a wonderful dog, a life without one, is a life diminished.” —Dean Koontz
If you’ve never seen a dog ‘smile’, then wait until you see the pooch in this story. For sure, the sight of her contagious grin can turn anyone’s frown upside down.
Liza, a pit bull, was born in a shelter after her mother was abandoned on the streets while she was pregnant. Due to lack of care, mama dog and all her puppies were very sick initially, and it took a lot to make them healthy again.
Upon reaching 13 weeks old, Liza was adopted by Debi Kolak, who owned another dog named Mona. The two dogs quickly bonded and became best friends who did absolutely everything together. For two years, they were like that, until Mona passed away last fall.
Liza was completely heartbroken. It was so obvious to Debi that Liza terribly missed her best pal. So when she moved in with her boyfriend, Joel – who owned two senior Jack Russell Terriers – in December, she hoped that the company of other dogs would cheer Liza up.
Unfortunately, the two dogs weren’t very friendly towards Liza. She was too energetic and playful for them, and Liza still felt alone as ever. Debi discussed with Joel the possibility of adopting another dog so Liza could have a playmate, but her boyfriend wasn’t sure if they could handle a fourth dog. They eventually put off the idea.
Determined to find a friend for Liza, Debi continued to research for animal shelters in their area. She found one that had several dogs up for adoption who looked like they would be a good match for her playful pooch. She visited the shelter with Liza and talked to the volunteers about what type of dog they were looking for. The staff showed her different dogs, including one that was named Murphy.
Murphy, who had been in the shelter for five months, is one of their long-time residents. He was rescued as a stray, and he had already been adopted by three different families but returned every single time. That experience seemed to have taken a toll on Murphy as he wore a defeated look on his face. Just from the looks of it, Debi was certain that Murphy wouldn’t be a good match for her hyperactive dog. Liza needed a friend just like her, and Murphy was her exact opposite.
“Murphy was sad … defeated-looking,” Debi said. “He had a large scar on his head. He didn’t bark or run to the cage. He just sat there, pressed against the chain link of his tiny kennel. I sat on the floor, put my hand up to the fence and talked to him. He nibbled at my finger and barely thumped his tail. I immediately thought, ‘There is no way this guy is a match.’ But I was drawn to his pitiful face.”
Debi then asked the volunteers to bring Murphy and the rest of the dogs out in the yard so Liza could meet them. She wanted Liza to choose which dog she wanted to be with, and surprisingly, Liza almost immediately chose her polar opposite – Murphy.
Murphy’s demeanor immediately changed when he met Liza.
“Liza and Murphy had an instant connection,” Debi said. “He rolled belly-up for her and then the game was on! They ran and frolicked for almost an hour, never once showing aggression and matching each other’s playfulness. I knew he was the one, and Liza knew he was the one.”
Debi was convinced that Murphy was the one, but it was Joel who needed real convincing. He was still doubtful when she talked to him about Murphy – until she sent him a video of Liza and Murphy interacting with each other effortlessly. That’s when Joel finally realized that the two belonged together.
“I told the volunteers at the shelter that we would need to discuss it and I would let them know,” Debi said. “He and Liza both whined for each other as they took him away. I called Joel when I left and talked to him about it and he said, ‘Well, you can’t just leave him! Go back!’ So I did!”
The couple then decided to enroll in the shelter’s “Take A Chance On Me” program, a three-day trial period given to adopters for them to evaluate if a dog would be a great fit in their home. Debi and Liza went back to get Murphy and on their drive home, Debi was sure that they would never return Murphy to the shelter.
“Murphy immediately jumped in the back seat of my truck and just looked out the window with his tail doing its tiny thump and he finally leaned in and licked my face,” Debi said. “Liza nuzzled into him as if she was assuring him that he was going to be OK and he would be loved, and I swear, she totally had a smile on her face the whole ride home!”
Surprisingly, the one who was initially doubtful about taking him home became Murphy’s favorite person – Joel. He follows him everywhere he goes. When it’s bedtime, Murphy sleeps under the covers with Debi’s daughter and Liza. Clearly, Murphy was content with his new forever family.
“In just a few short days of having him home, I can’t understand how no one would give this dog a chance, he is amazing,” Debi said.
Sometimes, Debi notices that Murphy still seems a little confused at times, as if he is expecting that he will be returned to the shelter anytime soon. But with the great bond that Liza and Murphy have established in a short amount of time is enough reason for Debi and Joel not to let him go.
“I called the shelter and told them that I wanted to finalize his adoption and they all cried and cheered,” Debi said. “I got him at no charge due to him being there for so long and they are giving us free transition training classes to help him learn trust and how to be part of a family. I’m excited to see how he does and I’m excited for him to finally realize that he is home for good.”
We all need a best friend in our lives, and it is clear that Liza and Murphy have found that in each other!
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