How Pearl became apart of our family 

By Tricia Wilson 

One resident’s story about their family’s journey, and their dog’s journey, to finding and adapting to each other.  

In March 2017 our dog Max was showing signs of depression from loneliness (my mother in-law had just moved out with her dog, him and max had become friends). We wanted to try and find him a friend, while also finding the perfect addition to our family. Our first thought was to get online and check out animal shelter websites because we felt it was important to rescue a dog that otherwise might not have a chance. While searching Pinal County’s site we saw Swirl/Pearl. Right away we fell in love. With nothing more than her picture, we hoped in the car with our dog Max to see if we could meet her. When we arrived at the Shelter we searched for her but her crate was empty. I must admit we were heartbroken we couldn’t find her. Instead of giving up on her and simply “picking” another dog we chose to ask an employee if she was still available. It turned out a Foster home was already looking at her to she is she would be a good fit with her other dog. All we could do was sit and wait to see how it went. For them, it turned out to not be a good fit so they brought Pearl to meet Max. For our whole family, it was love at first sight. Max and Pearl played for a while and she was great with our kids, so after only 15 minutes we told them she was ours and we were hers. 

As we walked to the front to sign the paperwork to take her home we were approached by a woman who was working with the foster that had been looking at Pearl when we arrived. She was very curious where we had seen Pearl, and why we wanted her so badly. After spending some time talking with this amazing woman we learned some very troubling information about the dog we fell in love with from just a picture. Pearl had had a rough life up to this point. She had been in the Maricopa Animal shelter where she was beaten by a male employee. After the story of the abuse was on the news a Rescue came forward to take care of her. Unfortunately for Pearl once money had been raised for her care she was dumped by the rescue at the Pinal County shelter. 

After hearing her story we knew she was going to need some extra TLC and time to adjust to her new home. It was not an easy transition for any of us. The first three months were extremely difficult for Pearl and for us. Pearl was very afraid of men. My husband had to work very hard to give her space while still letting her know he loved her. Anytime a man would come over to the house she would back away while trying to make herself as small as she could (which is not easy for her to do.) Pearl was also very unsure of where to go to the bathroom. It didn’t matter how many times we took her outside the second she would get inside she would head upstairs and go to the bathroom. To say I was frustrated would be an understatement. Pearl was almost 3 years old when we got her but it was like having a brand new puppy. To be honest it wasn’t really what I expected and I wasn’t sure if we could handle it. 

I knew I owed it to Pearl to figure out the best way to get her comfortable with our routine and to learn how things were done in our house. Once I stopped getting so frustrated she seemed to get the hang of the craziness that is our house. The other main thing that broke our hearts was to watch Pearl eat. She would finish her food in a matter of seconds WITHOUT chewing and then proceed to eat Max’s food. It was like she wasn’t sure when she would eat again, or how long we would give her to eat so she rushed it. After a while she realized she was going to get fed twice a day and didn’t need to treat every meal like her last one. She is so used to her eating schedule now that every time it gets close she paws at her bowl so we know she is hungry. 

It definitely took a while for all of us to work the kinks out, but today I couldn’t imagine this house without Pearl in it. She truly is such a sweet dog, who thinks she is a 50 pound lap dog, who loves us and boy do we love her. It makes me laugh to look back on how scared she used to be of my husband because now a days they are inseparable. She found her forever home and we found the missing piece to our family.  

If you would like to share your story regarding your rescued furry family member, we would love to share it. 

Send your rescue stories to: