Alex and Rico, Mississauga
Identity: Bisexual woman
'Before Rico came into my life I didn’t think very highly of myself at all. In fact, some days I really hated myself. I felt like a failure. I felt unaccomplished and worthless. Not only did I feel lost, but I struggled with my identity - I didn’t know anyone who felt the same way as I did and it made me feel like there was something inherently wrong with me.
I met Rico through work. He was the most handsome dog I’d ever seen and we had an immediate connection. His owners told me they were having trouble dealing with some of his intense behavioural issues. I got a call from them months later and they told me they couldn’t handle him anymore and were going to surrender him at the shelter. I hung up, drove to their house and told them I’d look after him. I had no idea how I could afford to look after Rico and it terrified me, but so did the thought of Rico being in the shelter system.
The more I worked with Rico, the more he looked up to me. The more he looked up to me, the more confidence I gained. Within months of having him people started to comment on how well he was doing. I started to believe that I had something to offer. I started to believe that I could help others. I was feeling so good about our progress, I started to look after myself too. I’d found my calling.
Fast forward a couple years and I’ve been able to turn my passion into my work. I now spend the days doing what I love, rather than hiding in my room not being able to face the world. I’d be lying if I said I don’t still have those bad days - I do, but I still get out of bed and face the world on those days because Rico’s right there beside me.
Rico has completely transformed how I spend my days but most importantly he changed how I see myself. He’s allowed me to reconnect with the world and taught me how to reconnect with myself. Thank you, my handsome boy, you gave me my life back. I love you more than you’ll ever know.'