Operation Kindness – North Texas’ original and largest no-kill animal shelter – is celebratingthe stories of shelter dogs who have touched the lives of North Texans. Nick, formerly known as Tonka, is a Rottweiler puppy that was surrendered by his owner to OperationKindness. He had an upper respiratory infection and a deformed right front leg and pawcaused by a birth defect, which prevented him from walking. With the help of the on-sitemedical hospital, Operation Kindness provided surgery and care for a full recovery. He wasat Operation Kindness for less than two months before heattended the annual Canines, Cats and Cabernet event as afeatured puppy available for adoption.
Kristina Kent works as a pastry chef at the Dallas Omni,where the annual Canines, Cats and Cabernet event is heldeach year. Kristina and her family had been searching for alarge-breed puppy to start training as a service dog for her13-year- old daughter Abby, who has cerebral palsy.Kristina was eagerly awaiting the annual event, where shefound Nick, formerly known as Tonka. After taking a lookaround and playing with the other dogs, Kristina noticedthat he was missing a leg. She immediately sent a pictureand short video of herself playing with him to herdaughter.
Abby instantly replied, saying that she wantedhim and that “he is disabled just like me!”
“I asked Abby if she thought he could be a good servicedog, and she said ‘if I can do it, he can!’ I adopted him onthe spot and took him home that night,” says Ms. Kent.“He immediately started playing with Abby and didn’t even think twice about her wheelchairand still doesn’t to this day. He has always been such a good boy! He potty-trained veryquickly and even rode on Abby’s lap in her wheelchair until he got too big to do so! Hesleeps in his kennel (with the door open) in Abby’s room and loves to give her cuddles andkisses.”
Nick is fiercely protective of Abby and follows her wherever he can: if she is in thebathroom, he is laying at her feet; if she is in her room doing homework, he is right there.He is undergoing training to become a service dog and does not go everywhere with thefamily, but he does get to go places sometimes as a part of his training. Every morning Nickwalks Abby to the bus stop. He has learned what her bus sounds like and knows when itpulls into the neighborhood – he whines and cries at the door until it’s time to go and gether off of the bus.
A month after the Kent family brought Nick home, Abby had surgery and was having a hardtime recovering – he wouldn’t leave her side and provided an endless supply of love andkisses to support Abby during her recovery. He provides a constant source of comic relief tothe family with the occasional leg bruise because he likes to swing his rope around to getthe attention of his humans to play with him. Despite having three legs, Nick has found hisfavorite spot to lie is on “his” ottoman, which he drapes himself over. He has learned how toclimb up onto it, no easy feat because it is about the same height as him. Nick’s favoriteactivities include playing rope and chase. He knows that Abby uses her feet and will put therope in her feet, and to play gently, but most times that only lasts a few seconds before heforgets and yanks it away.
“Nick is a great dog and such a member of our family. He doesn’t let that missing leg holdhim back at all! We absolutely love our little man. He is so very smart, sometimes a littletoo smart,” says Ms. Kent.
In celebration of Adopt a Shelter-Dog month in October, Operation Kindness is encouragingpet parents to share how their shelter dog has changed their life on Operation Kindness’Facebook page. For potential pet parents who are thinking of adopting a dog, OperationKindness is offering a limited time offer of a free 5-pound bag of Muenster Dog Food witheach adoption made throughout the month. Adopters will also have the opportunity toreceive a 30-pound bag of Muenster Dog Food by enrolling in Muenster’s auto-ship program,offering the adopter and the shelter a 30-pound bag of dog food throughout the month ofOctober.