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Adoption stories - How is ... Princess Leia?

March 2021 - article by APAC web team


In the Adoption Stories series we get back in touch with people who have adopted a dog or cat from APAC to find out how their lives have been since they became family members.

In this edition Marixa shares the moving story of the emotional year that Neska came into her life. Neska, formerly known as Princess Leia, was adopted from APAC in February 2020 and has since brought so much joy into the lives of those around her.

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"Neska, or previously Princess Leia, came into our family's life in stages. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak my husband Carlos and I were separated by an ocean. While traveling abroad to visit my son in the United States and my sister in Mexico the world had suddenly come to a stop with a scary disease and the comforts of my husband of two decades so far away. It was he who adopted Neska, taking this shy, sweet dog in a little "adopt me" vest and taking her into our home. Daily, I received pictures and videos of our little pup running around the apartment, hogging my place in bed, or playing in the dog park with all of her friends. I was immediately struck by this energetic and playful puppy, one that in many ways was the opposite of my son and I's dog. Bam was old, sick, and while endlessly devoted to those he chose as family and affectionate with us, an almost comical caricature of a grumpy old man.

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As the months passed and the loneliness and stress of Covid began to wear on me I began to look forward to the daily messages and video chats with Carlos, who would show me to Neska, talk to her about me and keep me up to date with her life. As the situation began to clear up a little and international travel opened up I flew back home to reunite with Carlos and Neska, leaving my son Braulio under the care of our fifteen year old dog Bam.

Sadly, just a few days after I arrived in Spain our beloved Bam crossed the rainbow bridge. It was a shattering experience to lose a companion that had in many ways grown up with my son, protected him and provided years of laughs, misadventures, pee on carpets and chewed up socks. The loss hit our family hard and sometimes I would cry and feel a heaviness in my heart. But Neska was always there, immediately sniffing my face and filling me with kisses and jumping up on me to cheer me up. And it worked. We took long walks together and snuck naps together on the couch. Her boundless energy helped my whole family heal, and even from a continent away my son asks about Neska even before he asks about his parents in our phone conversations.

While never a replacement, Neska has instead been a new love that has provided comfort in times of grief, exercise in times of laziness, a wagging tail and "hugs" to everyone she meets up to and including her vet. This incredible member of our family spends her days snooping through the balcony, darting to the kitchen at even the slightest sign of activity and sharing the couch with me when we both fall asleep watching something on Netflix. 

Neska has an infectious joy to her that sparks laughter and amusement in everyone she crosses. From my elderly aunt and uncle to my friends to her vet to photographers all of them greet her by name and pets and treats any chance they get. She's a major force for joy in times that desperately call out for joy. She loves the ocean and stares at it, even refusing to leave when I walk her by there. She makes heads turn when she simply sits and looks at the sea with wonder in her eyes.

As my husband and I approach our sixties, with a grown son in the United States there's an element of raising another funny little baby that comes along with Neska. She's curious and joyful and positive and even in the scant year she has been in our family she has at times become the very lifeboat that we all cling to.

Her greatest joy is stealing somebody's place in bed. Whether going to the bathroom or for the morning coffee leaving a spot open in the bed almost always ends the same way. With Neska's head on the pillow, under the blankets with eyes full of mischief that almost say "You snooze you lose."

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I look forward to many more years of learning and growing with this unique and happy dog. I love to have her meet new friends, my family, and hopefully soon her big brother Braulio from across the ocean. I love to share the incredible joy she takes with her everywhere she goes."

Thank you, Marixa, for sharing this touching story with us. We could not have wished for a better home for Neska and we wish you many more happy years together!

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