- What We Do
- Our Impact
- Adopt a Pet
- Celebrate Your Pet
- Save Pets Now
Patience pays off for hopeful pooch parents
“We both had dogs when we were younger, and we always knew we wanted to adopt a dog together some day,” says public relations executive Vijay Lalwani about himself and Hector Bondoc, an attorney. “We’re both really big animal lovers.”
That might have been why the couple’s search for the right pooch took almost a whole year. “There are so many wonderful animals out there, but we also knew not to rush into it,” Vijay remembers. “When adopting, you want to make sure you’re giving the pet not just a safe and healthy home, but their forever home. If they’re rescues, they’ve probably already had traumatic experiences; you don’t want to add to that. You want to find the right pet, and make sure you’re ready.”
And then, nearly a year into their search, that’s exactly what happened.
“Don’t wait for me”
Vijay was on a flight from Las Vegas back home to New York when he got an email from Hector that read Isn’t he the most amazing dog?
There was a photo of a Liver Shih Tzu—they’re a monochromatic reddish brown from nose to toes to eyes and fur. He’d been surrendered to Animal Haven, a rescue organization located in SoHo in New York City. “We’d visited them before,” says Vijay. “We hadn’t found a dog we’d be the right match for, or that was the right match for us.” But Hector put his name on Animal Haven’s email list, and they regularly sent updates of new pets available for adoption, including the little Liver guy. His previous owners had simply said they could no longer take care of him.
Right at that moment, on the flight after a hectic business trip, Vijay knew. ‘Don’t wait for me,” he emailed Hector, “go get him right now!’”
The shelter had nicknamed the Liver Shih Tzu “Animal!”, complete with exclamation point, but the new parents quickly realized that didn’t really fit the calm, sweet pup. “When Hector saw the photo, he’d been eating an Indian bread called koki that’s also reddish brown, so we figured ‘Koki’ fit,” says Vijay.
Both the name and the pooch fit their lives perfectly. “There was barely a period of adjustment,” Vijay recalls. “We learned Koki prefers people to dogs, and that he was housebroken and he listened well. And he was so happy! He was smiling so much all the time, he made us smile, too. In that sense, he arrived at the perfect time.”
Just before they found Koki, Vijay’s mother had begun a round of chemotherapy. “Koki brought life and happiness to my mother. She would just look at him and smile and feel better. She’s well now, and to this day Koki is still her favorite grandchild.”
Keep up with Koki on Instagram at @kokistateofmind.
More adoption stories: