Leticia is part of the Just Right® by Purina® blogger community and receives personalized food for her dog at no charge. All experiences and honest opinions are her own. We asked Leticia to talk about the unique relationship she shares with her Lab, Oliver. The result is a post that celebrates both Oliver and family dogs everywhere.
Finding the Best Family Dog
As someone who never grew up with dogs, I never imagined that I could love one as much as I love our Yellow Labrador, Oliver. We adopted Oliver from a local rescue group almost five years ago after an extensive hunt for a family dog that would be best for our family. My husband always grew up with Labradors adopted from local Lab Rescue groups, but finding a dog who we could provide a forever home for was a bit more challenging than we thought it would be.
Local Lab Rescue had few dogs who were approved for families with children under 10, which we desired even though our kids had had extensive experience with their grandparent’s two Labradors. Other dogs we met at dog adoption days were too young, too old, needed to stay together as a pair, or had just been adopted. We trolled Petfinder and Lab Rescue organizations up to two hours away from our Washington, D.C. area home hoping that an expanded search area would give us more options, when it turned out the dog that was right for our family was not that far away.
One evening after the kids were fast asleep, we did another Petfinder search and found a beautiful yellow Labrador named Oliver. Upon clicking on his photo, it seemed that this dog was too good to be true. The three-year-old runaway was a beautiful dog who had lived with a family with children who simply didn’t want him anymore. Could Oliver be our best family dog? Although we secretly hoped he would be, we also knew we had to be realistic.
Love at First Sight
On a chilly day in early January, we drove 20 minutes to the Northern Virginia pet store that was hosting a dog adoption day to meet Oliver. We opened the door to find the tiny store filled with beautiful dogs but we didn’t see Oliver. Upon asking about Oliver, we were directed out the back door to the parking lot where we spotted him right away.
Oliver’s enthusiasm made us fall in love with his gorgeous, skinny, excited self immediately. He wiggled endlessly when the kids approached him, ears back in the happy position when they stroked his yellow coat with their small hands. We were smitten, but we still had to go through an interview with the rescue organization’s founder. As we waited for our interview, the kids and I walked around the pet store, examining everything that we might need for our family’s new dog, wondering what questions we might be asked. My daughter carried a small photo album containing pictures of her and her brother with their grandparents’ Labradors and sheep. She asked if I thought the founder would look at them because she had dutifully carried it to the other adoption days we attended, but no one had ever looked at it, even when she offered.
Finally, it was our turn for an interview, so we walked down the aisle filled with large bags of pet food hoping for the best. After a lovely conversation and my daughter finally getting the chance to show her photo album, the rescue organization’s founder said she would bring Oliver to our home the very next day.
Oliver was a bit unsure when we arrived to our house and we quickly learned that our beautiful dog had issues. He was traumatized. Unwanted by his previous family, he ran away and happened to meet the rescue organization’s founder during his travels. After searching for his family and a bit of back and forth with them, they finally gave him up for good to the rescue group to help him find another home. He was nervous, scared, and had eczema, caused by stress from his previous situation. The first two days we had him, the entire family had to sit by his side on the floor so he would eat, although it didn’t take him long to realize that we loved him and that we were going to be his new forever home.
Oliver’s Unique Place in Our Family
After having Oliver for some time, our family can’t image life without him. Our 90-pound dog is well known in our neighborhood not only because you can hear him barking in the car from blocks away, but also because he walks the kids to school each day and has made friends along the way. He’s beloved by other children in the neighborhood who pet him before school and run over to him to rub his belly as he waits at dismissal. He is my enthusiastic running partner and office mate, always in danger of being run over by my office chair because he always insists on being as close as possible. He’s also a fierce protector of our three backyard chickens, alerting me to any squawking that is out of the ordinary and insisting on checking on them by making a run through the yard to ward off any unwelcome predators.
We often remark how lucky we are to have found Oliver and we think he’s just as happy that we are his forever home. As his forever family, we want to ensure that Oliver is healthy so he can live a long healthy life. Not only do we make sure that we’re giving him enough exercise and taking him to the vet for regular checkups, but we also have learned a lot about how to best meet his needs through nutrition.
Oliver’s Just Right® by Purina® blend provides him with a flavorful, nutritious and high-quality meal designed specifically him. It combines Purina’s proven expertise with my first-hand knowledge of our dog to ensure he’s getting what he needs to thrive. While it may seem excessive to buy Oliver a personalized blend of dog food, it’s no different from the food choices I make for the humans in my family. Just as we wouldn’t feed our kids whatever we grab from the grocery aisle, we don’t feed Oliver any old dog food, and I can feel satisfied knowing his special salmon blend is formulated just for him and his active lifestyle.
Leticia’s family is the right fit for Oliver. His personalized nutrition is right fit for him too.
How about your dog?
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Check out more of Leticia Barr and Oliver on her Instagram, YouTube channel, and her award-winning blog, Tech Savvy Mama, where she writes about technology from her perspective as a parent and former teacher.