The Gomez family of Highland, IN, believes their dog Addie is redefining the term rescue dog. Erica Gomez believes her family did not save Addie; Addie saved her family.
“It’s immeasurable how much Addie affected us, she has given us our lives back,” said Erica.
Erica and Michael Gomez have two children, both with disabilities. Colin, 9, suffers from attention defect disorder and severe anxiety. Eric, 6, was diagnosed with sensory issues.
Colin’s disorder causes him to have restless nights. Erica claims Colin would previously wake up between two and three times per night.
“The first week we had Addie, Colin slept completely through the night; it was the first full week of sleep we have had in years,” said Erica.
Sensory issues cause Eric to engage in very aggressive touch. He is also prone to having emotional outbursts.
“The way a two or three year old would throw a tantrum is how he would throw a tantrum at six years old,” said Erica.
Erica said there is a lot to uncover still about Eric’s disorder, but Addie has been their most effective resource. Addie has given Eric an outlet for his need for physical interaction and emotional release.
“He can pull on her and lay on her, and she does not mind it. I actually think she kind of likes it,” said Erica
Erica tried many different remedies for her children’s disabilities. She believes Addie has been the most effective tool.
“You name it we have tired it. Therapy, medications, meditation, yoga, and nothing helped. The only thing that works is a dog,” said Erica.
Having a dog has made it easier for Eric and Colin to make friends. Erica said her children are less afraid of going to other children’s houses.
“The boys used to be afraid to go to other children’s houses if they had dogs, and now it is a relationship builder,” said Erica.
The increased responsibility has improved Eric and Colin’s relationship with each other. Michael said it is not a perfect responsibility, but they both have matured since getting Addie.
“Colin even wakes up early in the morning to take Addie out, most days,” explained Michael, placing emphasis on most days.
Colin said that he sleeps better now that Addie is a part of their family.
“She calms me down because I know that she is watching over us,” said Colin.
Since Addie was a rescue dog the Gomez family did not know her birthday. Colin and Eric were responsible for choosing Addie’s birthday.
“Her birthday is May the Fourth, like May the Fourth be with you,” said Colin.
“We both like Star Wars, but on an ordinary level,” Colin later clarified.
The Gomez family obtained Addie from I Wanna Go Home Rescue. I Wanna Go Home Rescue is a network of animal foster homes that work together to help find loving homes for displaced animals.
The Founder of I Wanna Go Home Rescue Sue Hanlon obtained Addie from Hammond Animal Control. Hanlon claimed that Addie had such a good personality; she could not believe no one wanted her.
Hanlon’s organization had such a positive effect on Erica and her family; she now volunteers. On Saturdays Erica helps coordinate Adoption Day’s with I Wanna Go Home Rescue, at Petco in Highland, Indiana.
“It’s so important to give back to organizations like I Wanna Go Home Rescue because they have changed our lives,” said Erica.
Erica once opposed to owning a dog. Addie completely changed her perception and she would like to become one of I Wanna Go Home Rescue’s foster families.
“I want to extend the benefit of adopting a rescue animal to other people,” said Erica.
Michael supports Erica’s goal. He also wants to share what Addie has given them with the community.
“Addie has done so much for our family, it would be nice to see other families affected in a positive way,” said Michael.
I Wanna Go Home Rescue has a network of foster homes across North West Indiana and Illinois. Animals available for adoption can be seen at Petco in Highland, IN, every Saturday from 10a.m.-3p.m.