Love at First Lick: Patriot’s Happy Tail

June 17, 2015

When we rescue puppies and kittens from cruelty, we’re optimistic that they will forget their past hardships. But when a senior animal is saved from abuse, we can’t help but be heartbroken by how much of their life has been spent suffering. Thankfully, animals are amazingly resilient—and Patriot, a senior pit bull, refused to let a lifetime of cruelty get in the way of a love-filled future. Here is Patriot’s Happy Tail.


When Patriot was rescued from an abusive situation last October, he was already eight years old. The sweet senior pooch had been starved and developed a heart murmur as a result.  At the ASPCA Animal Hospital, he received echocardiograms and dental extractions along with the surgical removal of a mass from under his tongue. After six weeks of recovering and building up strength, he was transferred to the ASPCA Adoption Center to begin his search for a forever home.

Meanwhile, across town, Micah Z. was planning a big surprise for his boyfriend, Mark. “One day after work, Micah told me we were going someplace he thought I’d really like,” Mark recalls. “Next thing I know we are at the ASPCA ready to adopt!” The couple had always loved dogs but had never been official pet-parents before. Mark says, “Once we were there, it wasn’t a question of if we’d be a adopting a dog, it was a question of when. I’m so glad Micah came up with the idea!”

Love at First Lick: Patriot’s Happy Tail

Mark and Micah met a number of available dogs as they walked around the Adoption Center, but they were admittedly intimidated by some of the louder, friskier pups. When they spotted Patriot, they were immediately drawn to his calm, soothing energy. “Seeing Patriot behind the glass window, it was instantaneous” says Mark. “He was so sweet looking and all he did was look back and forth between Micah and I. Not a peep came from him, and all I can really clearly remember saying is, ‘Can we please meet him?’”

 Mark’s instincts proved to be spot-on as the meeting with Patriot went off without a hitch. “Once we got to play and pet him a bit, I knew,” he says. “His disposition was so sweet and genuine and loving, I could hardly imagine the thought of going back home without him. The crowning moment, however, was when he stood beside me, then leaned his weight on my legs, looked up to stare at me and then gave me a big kiss on my cheek. It was love at first lick!”

Love at First Lick: Patriot’s Happy Tail

The couple adopted Patriot that day and vowed to give him a happy, safe life. In an update a few months later, Mark reported, “Patriot has done an amazing job at adjusting to his new home with us! He wakes us up with many kisses on our faces, he expects breakfast and dinner after his morning and evening walks, and we now call him “King of the Couch,” among many other loving nicknames (Pate, Love Bug, Cuddle Monster, Patty Cakes).” Patriot has even established his favorite spot on Mark and Micah’s bed and made a couple of canine friends in the neighborhood. Mark adds, “When we go on walks, we nearly always get stopped by strangers wanting to compliment his beauty and his sunny and sweet personality.”

Soft beds and regular meals are a far cry from the painful, hungry life Patriot led before his rescue. What’s more, Mark and Micah recently adopted a three-year-old Yorkie, Edward, from the ASPCA, and Pate is loving being a big brother.

It may have taken eight years, but this sweet senior “Love Bug” finally found the home of his dreams. Mark says, “Every time I come home from work, I see his cute face sticking up from behind the armrest of the couch and I know how excited we both are to see each other. It’s hard to imagine our home without Patriot.” We’re sure that Patriot feels exactly the same way.

Love at First Lick: Patriot’s Happy Tail

Patriot and his new brother, Edward.