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Petco Holiday Wishes Campaign Submission

I submitted Lexi's story to Petco's Holiday Wishes Campaign

When the animal rescue organization that I adopted Lexi from, Route 66 Rescue Inc., asked its adopters to submit their adoption stories to the Petco Foundation 2018 Holiday Wishes Campaign, you know I had to participate!

Seriously... The chance to win a $1,000 shopping spree at Petco is cool, giving Route 66 Rescue Inc. a chance to receive a $100,000 grant is even better; however, I love sharing the story of how little Lexi came into my life. I know that the day will come when she's no longer in my life, and I want to make sure that she lives on through the stories I share about her.

Anyway... Enough of the doom and gloom, it's time to see how we fare in a contest that isn't all about how many followers I have on social media!

The Submission

Participants were asked to submit a 500-word (or less) story about how the pet they adopted have changed their lives, a few pictures, and a video. Here's what I came up with:

After I was diagnosed with PTSD, I wanted a companion who could help me get through the dark moments when I was anxious, barely functional, and thinking about cutting myself.

In July 2016, my search for a canine companion began. After a couple of leads fell through, I was about ready to give up my search. I decided to look just one more time and stumbled across a picture of this little, shaved-down Maltese named "Lexi." The look she was giving the camera was a mixture of curiosity and wariness, but what really captured my attention was the potential for mischief and playfulness in her eyes. I contacted Route 66 Rescue Inc immediately and after a couple of weeks, I became Lexi's pet guardian.

Lexi, pre-adoption circa 2016

I was looking for a companion, what I got was a kindred spirit. When I adopted Lexi, I was living in an apartment community and my anxiety, depression, and insecurity made it difficult for me to connect with people. Lexi was wary around new people too but she needed to go outside, so I needed to put my own anxiety and wariness aside to encourage her to explore her surroundings. We were both anxious and wary at first; however, as Lexi and I started meeting other tenants, we gained confidence.

It was Lexi who “encouraged” me to meet new people by prancing over to other tenants who were walking around and sitting down in their path. We met plenty of people this way and, before I knew it, several tenants figured out our routine and “just happened” to be outside when Lexi and I were. On days when I felt depressed and alone, I'd go outside with Lexi and see people who reminded me that I wasn't alone and that the next day would be better.

Like many with PTSD, I suffer from night terrors. When they are really bad, Lexi paws at the bed and whines to wake me up. When I do wake up from one, the first thing I see is my little Lexi sitting next to my bed and licking the covers to comfort me. When she sees that I'm awake, she lays down next to the bed on “guard duty” to protect me from the bad dreams. After a really bad night, I often don't want to get out of bed the next day because I'm overwhelmed with anxiety but the minute I sit up in my bed, Lexi greets me like I'm her long-lost friend with her tail up and a doggy grin on her face. I can't resist her cute little face and, before I know it, I'm getting out of bed to greet my little girl.

Lexi's doggy grin, circa 2018

There are times when I feel overwhelmed and anxious, but then I remember that Lexi depends on me to take care of her and loves me just the way I am. Knowing this doesn't make it all better, but it reminds me that there is always hope for a better day tomorrow.

Lexi and Charity Rowell, circa 2018

While I'm sure the organizers were looking for a video that reiterated the written story, I thought it would be kind of cool to demonstrate how far Lexi has come since she was adopted. The lighting is screwy but it's our first video and Lexi demonstrates a different kind of cuteness.

The winners will be notified in November so keep your fingers crossed for Lexi, me, and Route 66 Rescue Inc.!