Woman Flies From Pennsylvania to California to Adopt Special Needs Dog

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Hiya, I’m Oso!

I’m 3-months-old, and a very nice lady saved me from the side of the freeway and brought me to SPARC! It’s really called Santa Paula Animal Rescue Center, but I like SPARC better! My owners never came to get me so I got to stay at SPARC for a while until I felt better. I had some pretty bad scrapes, bumps and bruises, but I hung in there.

The worst part was that I was struggling with some other issues that the humans weren’t able to figure out right away. I needed to itch my legs so bad, and obviously all I can do is bite them, but they kept putting bandages on so that my wounds could heal. I kept having these “episodes” where I just couldn’t stop biting my legs, which only made the healing process take longer. I was so frustrated, and I knew I was making the humans sad as well – it made me feel bad.

On the plus side, I am a very special little guy and everyone claims that I have the best smile. I am super smart, too, but I really just wanted a friend who could keep my mind busy with fun adventures and plenty of toys (playing tug is my favorite)! I really like when the humans give me a hug; it makes me feel safe.

Needless to say, it took a little bit for the SPARC people to find me a home. Well, not that long actually. It’s kind of a miracle! Since then, I’ve changed my name to Smoke! Well, okay, my mom did. Did you hear that? I HAVE A MOM!

So the nice SPARC people really wanted to help me, but they don’t have a lot of money (just like I don’t, either) and they started to look for people who would want to take me home! They made it a mission to find THE perfect parent(s) for me. So they went on the social media stuff every day and posted cute pictures of me and my sad story. Lots and lots of people called, but no one wanted to or was able to handle my medical needs. Until one morning, a really nice lady named Krista called to ask about me.


During the interview, she explained how she used to work for a dog therapy facility, and she’s fostered, like, over 30 dogs! Holy Dog Bone, that’s a lot of dogs! She had spent countless nights sleeping on the floor, getting up every hour, cleaning up every mess and doing exactly what every pet parent should be doing for their animals! I knew this was going to be my home, I just HAD to find her!

My new mom-to-be was so excited to meet me, and she knew I needed help fast. She bought a plane ticket and flew to Los Angeles right away, all the way from PENNSYLVANIA! Wow I’ve never heard of that place before!! What would it be like? I didn’t know but I couldn’t wait!

Next we had to fly all the way back to Pennsylvania. Doggo, was that plane ride cool! But it was kind of stressful. I had already fallen in love with my mom. She was so gentle and patient and understanding. She took really good care of me. The airplane ride was really hard and I didn’t get to wear my cone because it didn’t fit in my kennel. And then my feet itched the whole time and I just couldn’t stop.

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We had to go to the hospital as soon as we arrived because I was biting so much that one of my toes fell off… oops! It was a really long day AND an even longer night. I felt bad for my new mom. I didn’t want to disappoint her.

So here I am today, living it up in Pennsylvania! It’s really nice here! I have two brothers; they look just like me! Axe is a different color, kind of orange/red and Diesel is the same colors as me! I love swimming and smelling the flowers, sometimes I even try to eat them. I’m pretty exotic in that way! OH! I have a new favorite food – watermelon! It’s the best.


I couldn’t be more grateful to have so many people who love me, even though I’m difficult to care for. I’m getting better and my feet have finally healed completely! I don’t really have that many “episodes” anymore, I just growl at my feet sometimes. Mom thinks it’s weird. I think it’s funny.

I was supposed to have an MRI (whatever that means) but mom says they cancelled it because I have been doing so much better! I guess it’s pretty dangerous for a doggo. So instead they have diagnosed me with Self-Mutilation Syndrome. It’s not very common for us doggos, but I guess some of us have it. The doctor said it will only get worse with age, but I’m not so sure about that. I seem to do better and better every day. I heard them tell mom I would have to wear a cone for the rest of my life!!! It’s sooooo annoying and uncomfortable, but I do it anyway. Maybe it’s because I am determined to make mom happy!!

No matter what, I will do anything my mom asks me to do. I trust her, she helped save my life and took me in when no one else would.

Love, Smoke!

(AKA “Oso” because I’m OH-SO-CUTE!!!)

PS-I like to keep in touch with the people at SPARC because I know they tried so hard for me and found me the perfect home!!! They really do love me, and I will always love them for that!

Story submitted by Aja Benninghoff.

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