A dog’s destiny: from helpless to helper

How a dog’s love impacts lives

3 minute read

A black dog being pet and looks up at a man in a green t shirt
This narrative is part of the Wondercide March series called The Lucky Ones, stories of rescued animals. But we've discovered that it's us, the humans, who are the lucky ones, indeed.

In his darkest hour, young Link was a pup in search of a family to love. He first came to the Austin Humane Society in 2022 in hopes to be placed with the perfect parent after his original family could no longer take care of him. Little did Link know that Brandon, his perfect human match, was already on the prowl for a furry addition to his family.

Brandon was looking for a dog to share his life and to accompany him to his place of work, Brother Vincent Pieau Residence, which is a memory care facility. Brandon thought a dog would also bring more love and happiness into the residents' lives. When he was introduced to Link, Brandon knew he had found the one. Sparks flew and the pair were instantly bonded as Brandon took home his new best friend. Smiles and hugs became standard issue at work.

Nowadays, Link goes with Brandon to the senior facility at St. Edward’s University where he became fast friends with Link’s coworkers and the residents. It’s hard to tell who enjoys whose company more. Link brings joy to everyone he meets and has even been registered as a Canine Good Citizen. He’s currently working towards becoming an official Therapy Dog where he’ll be able to continue to spread his love to those who truly deserve it. He’s a happy pup with a home and a purpose.

A black and white dog gives and gets love from two patients at a memory care facility

Link is just one beautiful example of a dog whose impact on the humans around him makes everything brighter. Animals are known to have a positive effect on people’s mental health, including reducing anxiety and stress. Two out of three employees claim that their work causes them stress, and 40% say that their job interferes with their mental health. Studies have proven that having a dog in the workplace reduces this workplace stress and adds another layer of companionship in the office.

Pets are also a great way to give a team of employees a better sense of togetherness. What's better to bond over than an adorable, furry creature running around the office? A bonded team is a happier team, which is why pets in the workplace can be so impactful. Knowing this, it’s clear that Brandon taking his new pup into the memory care center was an effective way to boost morale and make the office a more enjoyable place to be.

Studies have shown the immense positive impacts bringing dogs into retirement homes or other elderly care facilities has. Oftentimes, human to human interaction in places such as these are patient-employee relations and feel more scheduled and mandatory. Studies have shown that dogs help break this cycle and provide a pleasant and much needed visit for the residents. Dogs have also proven to provide a calming, therapeutic presence to those with illnesses both mental and physical. For elderly people, it is common for them to lack contact with other people, so a playdate with an enthusiastic dog provides them with interactions with another living thing and brings them a burst of joy in their day.

What Link’s done for Brandon and his work team is similar to the gift that Brandon’s given Link. There are approximately 3.1 million dogs in shelters each year who need homes. There are some wonderful places such as the Austin Humane Society who focus on putting pets in happy homes, which is how Link found his human. Sadly, not all animals are as lucky. It’s estimated that each year in the U.S. about 390,000 dogs are euthanized because they were never able to find a forever home.

Luckily for both Brandon and Link, they get to live happily ever after and bring each other joy each day. Life is always better with a dog!