How my family found Gunner at the SPCA

By Faith Pitsikoulis
November 10, 2019

My dog was one of my best friends. We got him when I was 6 years old, and he was the first thing I loved. 

My family and I had to put him down over the summer, and the house was very different without him until my sister came home with a surprise.

My sister and her husband adopted a dog named Gunner at Brandywine SPCA. I go over to their house and dog sit a couple of times during the week and Gunner comes over on the weekends to hang with me and my parents at our house.

Gunner at my sister’s house. Photo by Faith Pitsikoulis

One night I was sitting on the couch watching TV with Gunner and I realized how many different places he had been before coming to us. He was dropped off at Brandywine SPCA by a person with no home who could no longer take care of him. He spent four years of his life in so many different places and shared a special bond with his caretaker.

Gunner is a very affectionate dog and he listens perfectly when someone tells him something, so it is obvious that his previous caretaker really loved him and Gunner loved him back just as much. He spent the next four months in an animal shelter with other dogs in need of home too. He currently spends most days at my sister’s house, visits my house a couple of times a week and is taken on walks around the different neighborhoods nearby.

On Fridays, my sister takes Gunner to work. She organizes outdoor fundraising events for the local nature preserves that are protected by Natural Lands. Gunner gets to visit all of these beautiful outdoor places, go on long walks and meet all of these new people who attend the events. 

He has lived a pretty cool life! Eventually, Gunner made his way to my family. He has shown us that there are so many animals full of love who are looking to complete a family. Gunner has helped our house feel more like a home again because we have a new best friend running around and watching TV with us. Hopefully, we have made our house feel like a home for him too.

We understand the significance of animal adoption because we have been able to love Gunner over these past few months.

Gunner on a walk-in Phoenixville. Photo by Faith Pitsikoulis

Brandywine SPCA is the first no-kill, open-admission animal shelter in Pennsylvania. Also, it is the closest SPCA shelter to Cabrini’s campus. Brandywine SPCA is dedicated to humanely treating all animals, regardless of how long they may be searching for a home. People can go to spend time with the animals, fill out an application and adopt a friend to take home.

ASPCA app on App Store. Screenshot by Faith Pitsikoulis

The SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) gave $4,636,514 in veterinary aid to North America in 2018. They have advocated for dogs forced to participate in dog fighting rings and animals in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, supported the eradication of dog meat trade and donkey skin trade, created a special support fund for rescue animals from the Chernobyl Nuclear Exclusion Zone and set up a natural disasters relief fund for animals and a military support fund for soldiers in need of companions.

Main Line Animal Rescue is another animal shelter located in Phoenixville, which is a 30-minute drive from Cabrini. Students can adopt, donate or even volunteer to take care of animals at the shelter. Any students looking for a way to work with animals and help out should drive to Main Line Animal Rescue, or Brandywine SPCA, and take care of some fun-loving animals.

Animal shelters can be found all over Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and pretty much anywhere in the U.S. Wherever students come from, there are so many animals that need a home. 

For me and my family, our home just happened to need Gunner.

Applications to volunteer at Brandywine SPCA can be found here at

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Faith Pitsikoulis

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