This is Vanessa Marie Rose and her best pal Toby. They’ve both been through a lot, but found each other at just the right time.
Toby is a rescue from a high-kill shelter in Ohio. He spent more than six years trapped in a cage, let out only for breeding or a rare run.
It left him with stunted growth, back problems, and other health issues. He also suffers from anxiety after years of mistreatment.
He endured a physically abusive owner, and another who didn’t think he was a good enough pet, until he finally made his way to Vanessa.
“He ended up in this rescue called Snookie’s Society where I found him,” Vanessa told BuzzFeed Canada. “And just had to have him.”
Vanessa got him just as she was dealing with her own mental health issues, so they really saved each other.
“He kind of rescued me more than I rescued him,” she said. “Honestly, I don’t know what I would have done without him.”
So to celebrate their bond, Vanessa got a tattoo to match the one a previous owner put on Toby’s ear.
“This poor guy was abused and then he was marked. For me, I felt like it was something that I wanted to do in solidarity,” said Vanessa.
“He’s going to be my little buddy forever no matter what happens.”
She shared a photo of the tattoo on the Toronto-based Facebook group Bunz Petz Zone, and her fellow animal lovers are clearly touched by the gesture.
As for Toby, his anxiety is slowly but surely improving. Vanessa even brings him to work, where’s he’s been named “Chief Cuddle Officer.”
“People that see him now compared to months ago comment on how he’s always smiling, tail wagging,” said Vanessa.
“Someone just needed to give him a chance.”