: Oliver: Oliver has changed my life in many different ways, but the one that sticks out to me the most was when my suspicions of his vision became a reality. I did not notice anything wrong with his eyes at first. He was a happy puppy. Then I started to notice different behaviors. He would run the opposite direction of where the ball was thrown and began bumping into things. We hiked a lot and he would run into branches and trees. I took him to the vet and was told that he was born with cataracts and was 95% blind. How did I not notice this? I was saddened as I left the vet with him, but knew that it was my job to give him the best life. I chose him. He was still a happy puppy, but he just needed help with certain things. When we are out, I tap the ground where there is an object, such as a stick or if the sidewalk ends. He knows that the word “up” means there is a stair. He is still a happy boy and truly enjoys his “Gramps” life!
Juno: Ohhh Juno. She has truly lit up our world. She has a contagious personality filled with love and energy. She has survived the odds and is a perfect example of “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” She has a story and a love for life. I am reminded daily to take a step back and assess situations before assuming anything. Everyone has a story and all it takes is to dig deeper. Her bond with Oliver fills my heart with joy. Juno is a smart cookie and takes her sneakiness skills to new levels daily with Oliver. She has taught me that life is all about living and hard work pays off. She puts a smile on my face each and everyday.
: Oliver: The summer of 2011 was where it all began. I was taking summer classes, working, and traveling back to St. Louis to see my family when I could. I was also living mostly alone with new roommates that were rarely home in a vacant college town. I was missing something in my life and that something was MY very own dog. I had previously shared a dog with a former roommate. It was decided that she would get Biggie. There were no hard feelings and I believed that everything happens for a reason.
In between class and work, I would scroll through websites and look at dogs and names. I knew that I wanted a boy and for him to have “an old man” name. The Saturday after the Fourth of July, I woke up and told my sister that we were going to look at dogs. I had done some research and knew that C.A.R.E. (Coalition for Animal Rescue and Education) was having pet adoptions at Petco and Petsmart that morning. I showered and got dressed up. I wanted to look my best. Our first stop was at Petco. I was a nervous wreck. I hid behind the toy aisle and barely peaked around the corner. We quickly left and headed to Petsmart. We walked in and headed towards the back of the store. It was then that I laid eyes on my sweet Red Fawn Corgi Mix. I wanted a dog around 20 pounds, since I was traveling a lot to St. Louis and shared my college house with 4 other people. I was still nervous. I walked around and waited for someone to talk to me. I did not know what to do and my sister was getting irritated. Before I knew it, I was sitting on the floor with this 5-pound puppy. A lady with two other dogs was interested in him while I played with him, but I paid little attention to her. I played with him for over an hour! We ended up leaving without him. I immediately called my boyfriend, now husband and told him everything. He was out of town and supported my decision. I called my Dad and he did not think that I needed a dog at that very moment. I got home and could not stop thinking about this sweet puppy. I called my friend up and she told me to go for it! My Dad came around and before I knew it, I was back in my car calling C.A.R.E. to tell them to hold the Red Fawn puppy. I not only wanted this puppy, but I needed him! I ran into Petsmart and began filling out paperwork. I was shaking and full of excitement. In the middle of filling out paperwork, I spotted a woman spying at me through the canned cat food aisle. She started to walk over to me. She had her wallet in her hand and asked if the Red Fawn puppy had been adopted. She explained how she had adopted his brother a week earlier and was coming back to adopt him. Together, their names would be Scully and Mulder from the X Files. She was 5 minutes too late and he was mine! I finished up paperwork and was officially a dog mom. That day, he shredded half of my Dad’s grass. He was a little lawn mower tossing grass this way and that. I was in love with my nameless puppy. That night was a different story. I completely lost it. I thought to myself, “What have I done?” My sister snapped me back into it and I quickly realized that “I chose him.” We made a long list of names and it was then that my Red Fawn puppy became Oliver.
Juno: It all started in the fall of 2014. My husband and I had been talking about getting another dog for quite sometime. We wanted a playmate and sibling for Oliver. I talked about it a lot with my best friend, Kasey. Her pack was growing and I knew that mine would be too. I looked at Stray Rescue of St. Louis website multiple times a day. We knew that we wanted a girl, but were not breed specific, although pitties were at the top of our list. My husband grew up with pit bulls, while I grew up with two cats. We were both aware of pit bull stereotypes, but we were not going to let that affect our decision. We found two different dogs on Stray Rescue’s site. I put an adoption request form in for one of them. I did not hear back and decided to call a few days later. She had been adopted. I didn’t fret and knew that our bundle was out there. It happened on a Saturday morning. I was in Kasey’s hotel room, as she got ready for her competition. I was scrolling through Facebook and my finger stopped. There was a picture of two sibling pit bull puppies, a boy and a girl. I could not stop staring at the girl. She was a doll! Her body was brindle and her face was white with a brindle spot. She was a doll! I showed Kasey and before I knew it, I had submitted another adoption application. The next day while at the gym with Kasey, I received a phone call. There was a man on the other end. He explained how he was currently fostering the puppies. Once again, I was a nervous wreck and Kasey calmed me down. After talking with the man and then calling my out-of-town husband to check his schedule, a date and time were set up. I spent the next few days making sure that my house was spotless and perfect. The man and his daughter arrived with the puppy. Her name was Jane Goodall. Oliver was NOT a fan of her. He went downstairs and did not come back up until after they had left. We sat and talked in the living room while she sniffed around. He informed us of how she was found and my heart hurt as he told us. Two boys found a crate full of six puppies, 2 girls and 4 boys. They brought the crate to Stray Rescue of St. Louis. The puppies were covered in feces and urine. The girls were the smallest and were buried at the bottom. Their pads were to the bones from the urine. It was hard to imagine. As she played there in front of us, I couldn’t help but notice her nails. They looked like they had a French Tip. The whiteness was caused from the urine. Right then and there, I knew we had to have her. We were smitten with her. She was the missing link to our family.
Friday rolled around and we were off to pick her up. When we arrived at Stray Rescue, we were told that she was a little out of it after just waking up from being under anesthesia from her spay. We snuggled her up. As I signed our last bit of paperwork, the staff showed me pictures and a video of her and her littermates in a puppy pile after getting cleaned up. It was precious. They did not show me any before pictures. They stated that they were too gruesome. This made me love her even more. It was then that her foster dad walked in. He was there to pick up her brother, Frederick. Jane and Frederick groggily said their goodbyes. Patrick drove home, while I held her in my lap. She snored so loudly and was cuter than a button. We were so in love with her. She was ours, our very own! After disagreeing on names, we agreed on Juno.
- : Oliver: C.A.R.E. (Coalition for Animal Rescue and Education) & Juno: Stray Rescue of St. Louis
- : Morgan Mills
- : Oliver's Birthday: 4-1-2011 & Juno's Birthday 6-16-2014