Chris Cognac and his wife, Martha, were almost empty nesters — their oldest son had gone off to college, but their 15-year-old son lived at home. So things at home were a bit quieter and not as busy.
“Let’s go to the shelter and get a dog,” Martha said in light of their son’s absence.
Chris was caught off guard by the idea, but he thought, what the heck — why not? Little did he know that this would be the idea that profoundly changed his life.
So he started thinking through it. He knew he didn’t want a yappy, snippy dog, like a pit bull. He knew he didn’t want a pitbull.
You see, Corgac is a sergeant with the Hawthorne Police Department in Los Angeles County, California. And he’s had plenty of encounters with annoying dogs in dark backyards when he was on duty. He thought of pit bulls as yappy and annoying.
So he and Martha went to the animal shelter in Carson. This shelter gets so many animals that it’s known as a high-kill facility. So the couple was determined to find a dog — the right dog.
“Tears began to stream down my face”
As Corgac strolled down the rows of metal cages occupied by all sorts of dogs in all sorts of conditions, one dog caught his eye. The only problem: this dog was a pit bull, the one breed he wanted to avoid.
“He looked at me with big beautiful eyes,” Corgac writes in The Huffington Post. “I could see into his soul. I could feel how scared he was and that he just wanted it to end. I could not just walk away — my heart would not let me. I had to at least go over and look at him.”
So the sergeant stepped up to this dog. The dog didn’t bark, he didn’t move. He just sat there, head resting against the cold metal cage. Corgac scratched the dog’s head, and the dog accepted the love gladly, with closed eyes.
“Tears began to stream down my face,” Corgac writes. “Because I felt everything that this poor creature was feeling right then. He just wanted to be loved; he just wanted a home and a family.”
They wanted to see if this was the dog that should join their family, so they set up some private time with this laid-back pit bull — he was shaking as they brought him out of his cage. He was so scared, he didn’t bark, growl, or even move.
Maybe he was thinking it was finally his time; this was a high-kill facility after all.
“It was his eyes that told us what we needed to do,” Corgac writes. “So we took a chance on this pit bull and said, ‘We want him.’”
Right then, right there in that shelter, Sergeant Chris Corgac’s life changed forever. That dog — a pit bull, of all dogs — altered this man’s life for the better.
“He has shown us more love than any living creature on earth ever has before,” Corgac writes. “I love looking into his big brown eyes as his giant tongue slides across my face. I know what’s in those eyes: It’s love, compassion, and gratitude. Things I never thought that a pit bull was capable of.”