Rescue Dog Finally Relaxes When She Gets A Toy Of Her Very Own

“[She] carried the dinosaur all the way around the store and to the register.”

Nicole Marie Wasieleski had no intention of adopting another dog from the Animal Rescue League of Iowa, the shelter where she volunteers. But when she spotted an older pup all alone in her kennel earlier this month, Wasieleski couldn’t get the dog’s face out of her mind.

“When I saw her in the shelter, I thought she looked like a sweet old wolf and wanted to meet her,” Wasieleski told The Dodo. “She was so quiet and gentle.”

Kairi in a kennel at The Animal Rescue League of Iowa
Nicole Marie Wasieleski

At 10 years old, Kairi had been through quite a lot in her later years. She lost her first family suddenly and, despite finding a new home with Wasieleski, Kairi was having trouble adjusting to all the change. Wasieleski wanted to treat the dog to something of her very own — something that could help her feel safe and secure.

So she took Kairi on a special trip to a pet store, where the older dog could choose a toy of her very own. And Kairi knew exactly what she wanted.

Dog falls in love with toy
Nicole Marie Wasieleski

“She picked out this funny pink dinosaur and we were laughing about it and kept trying to hand her more normal toys,” Wasieleski said. “She ignored them and carried the dinosaur all the way around the store and to the register.”

“Dino” may only be $17 worth of pink and blue stuffed fabric, but Kairi won’t let it out of her sight.

Kairi snuggles her Dino toy
Nicole Marie Wasieleski

“Ever since then, she’s been carrying it around, playing with it and snuggling it,” Wasieleski said. “She will let my other dogs play tug-of-war with it, but they know they can’t shred it like they shred all other toys.”

Kairi suffers from separation anxiety, letting her new mom and dad know that she is not pleased with them leaving by chewing up carpets. To help her feel more secure, Kairi is beginning crate training — and that's where Dino has really started to prove to be so much more than a toy.

“We were so worried because she would bark and scratch the kennel and we didn’t want her to get hurt," Wasieleski said. "When Dino is in with her she is silent!”

Nicole Marie Wasieleski

Kairi is slowly adjusting to her new home and will often place one of her big gray paws on her mom's arm, showing her just how grateful she is for the second chance.

"We actually can’t believe how much energy she has left for her age," Wasieleski said. "She will wrestle with my other 2-year-old dogs and then want to rest and snuggle with her people or her dinosaur."

Kairi with her new dog siblings
Nicole Marie Wasieleski

Though Kairi is getting more independent, her family still has a backup plan should Dino go missing.

“My dad already went back to the store to get her another dinosaur,” Wasieleski said. “In case anything happens to this one.”