Story and photos submitted by Kelly Keene

Our story is a little bit different. I have known Elroy for almost his whole life. My best friend and her husband got him as a puppy. They did an excellent job training him and he had a great life. Then, the tiny humans came along, and Elroy became an outdoor dog. His family could no longer provide him with the attention he was used to.

This worked out okay, until the family moved to a house that had a short, wide-grated fence in the backyard, and Elroy started running away, almost on a daily basis. Various people brought him home: neighbors, sometimes even the police.

Finally, my best friend reached her wits end and asked me if I wanted to take Elroy. I had never owned a dog before. I live in a one-bedroom apartment. I work long hours and don't have a ton of extra money to pay a dog walker daily. My lease did not allow for pets. Somehow, with the blessing of an extremely understanding landlord and a helpful friend, I gave it a shot.

The first full day I had Elroy, I cried. I had NO IDEA how to care for this adorable little furball. We were both confused. The first time I left him alone in my apartment, he yipped and cried the whole hour I was gone. I worried he would bark all day while I was at work, and drive my neighbors nuts.

Now, I have had Elroy for over a year and I cannot imagine my life without him. I never truly understood the therapeutic power of a connection with an animal until now. The bond I have experienced with him over the past year is so unique and different from a bond with other humans. I never have to question his motives or whether he judges me. He just loves me, and that is all. He has taught me patience and selflessness. At 10 years old, I know I am getting him in his "senior years," and it brings me joy to know that he will experience love and attention for the rest of his life.