Once Upon a Time…Jackie Yoon and her 15-year-old son, Brendan, were looking for a new family pet. Three years before, they had lost their rescued Rottweiler to cancer, and it took about six months of searching before they came across a lab mix named Bunny at Gateway Pet Guardians.

Once they found her, Yoon, a VP at J.P. Morgan Private Bank, knew it would be a good fit for her family. “She had a tough life and you could tell she was still a little raggedy,” she explains. “She had hair missing in certain spots, but she had just a great demeanor; and you could tell at some point, she had been someone’s pet. My son fell in love with the dog, who was named Bunny. He said, She doesn’t look like a Bunny. Can we name her Bella? When I asked why, he said, I know if we take her in and give her a lot of love that she’ll be beautiful someday. You never think about these things coming from a 15-year-old boy, but he really fell in love with her and saw that long-term vision.”

Since taking in the 1-year-old dog in April, the Yoons have noticed a great transformation in Bella. “When she came to us, you could see her ribs, and she was very meek and shy. Now she looks and acts like a lab: She’s happy and bouncy; and when we come home, her tail is always wagging. It just makes you want to smile.” Yoon says that the responsibility of caring for a pet has been great for Brendan, too, who is an only child. “My son has been able to be part of that process, watching her transformation and helping her grow into something strong and confident. To be able to help foster confidence in a family member, I think that’s great for a teenager.”

The Yoons live right next door to Jackie’s brother and his kids, and their Town & Country neighborhood is very pet-friendly, Yoon says. The neighborhood dog park was a great place for Bella to get acclimated to meeting other dogs. “When she meets a dog, her initial reaction is that she gets down really low and checks it out, and if they’re friendly, then her tail starts wagging.”

Yoon says she would recommend adopting a rescue for any family looking for a pet, so long as they’re ready for the commitment and patient about finding the right personality. “What I thought was great about Gateway Pet Guardians is that they weren’t pushy. They were very accommodating, really cared about the pets and wanted to make sure they were with the right families. They wanted to make it a long-term fit and were excited about the dogs individually.”

Yoon adds, “When you adopt a rescue, you have to have a little faith. They need a lot of love and a little forgiveness, and in the end you get even more out of it than they do.”


Gateway Pet Guardians

5321 Manchester Ave., 664-7398, gatewaypets.com

Proudly sponsored by Carol House Furniture

With their belief that bigger things can come out of selling furniture, Carol House and the Dubmans proudly donate a portion of each sale to local charities. One of the organizations the company supports is its very own Carol House QUICK FIX Pet Clinic, which spays and neuters pets for low-income families. For more information, call 771-PETS or visit CarolHousePetClinic.org.

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