Toby’s Path of Hope

[Guest article by Lesley Martinez, a North Bend resident, photographer, dog matchmaker, wife and mother of two (one human, one not)]

Twenty minutes and 15 seconds into the video, and I’m in love.

I’m not looking for love! I’m happily married with a 6-year-old. I don’t have time for these….feelings.

Nevertheless, here I am, 20 minutes and 15 seconds into a video on the Facebook page for Path of Hope Rescue, and I’m falling in love.

With a puppy.

Look at him! He’s all brown, with a white belly and the CUTEST heart-shaped nose. Look at his little squinty eyes and fluffy ears!

Photo credit: Lesley Martinez Photography

It’s the day after I found my sweet boy. I’ve spent ALL day thinking about him. I‘m planning in my head how I will approach my husband about adopting a dog. Were we ready to open our hearts to another fur baby? After all, we had only lost my precious golden retriever a couple of years ago.

Approaching my husband, I have my info ready. I have money saved for startup costs, the adoption fee, and honey, “I am already searching for trainers, crates and all things puppy.” But secretly I’m thinking, Be real, Lesley. You probably aren’t going to get this puppy. Right?” But then he says those magic words, “Go ahead, just apply.” Little does he know that once this process starts, it goes rather quickly!

I put in my application, twiddled my thumbs and checked Facebook every 5 minutes to make sure my puppy was not somehow magically gone. Finally, the email came from a Path of Hope’s Matchmaker, she wants to do a phone interview and go over my application. OH BOY! Schedule me as soon as possible!

The phone call is great, and because I am a long-distance adopter, next comes a zoom call with a home inspector volunteer. She messages me to set up my call and I sarcastically text back, saying, “I’m ready now if you want.”

“Great, give me 10 minutes, and I’ll send you the link.”


I’m not ready for someone to see my house. There are toys everywhere! Dishes in the sink. My bed isn’t made. I run around, cleaning, and trying to make my house look presentable. It’s fine. My inspection goes off without a hitch, and I am an official adopter for Path of Hope Rescue. Now I immediately text matchmaker, so she can tell me that Corned Beef, (his litter is named after Irish food) is mine.

It’s the next day, and I get the text. “I can officially say I am going to match you with Corned Beef.”

Tears. I have all the tears of happiness. Now I have to schedule a day to meet him and bring him home.

Path of Hope is based out of Spokane, and all of the dogs are kept in foster homes, so there is no actual shelter to go and see the dogs. I’m in touch with his fantastic foster, and together we set a date for me to pick him up.

June 25th finally arrives, and we drive to Spokane to meet our sweet boy. As soon as I see him, I know in my heart that it’s meant to be. The meet and greet goes well, and I get to take him home. They have a 2-night trial period, but I know I want to keep him. I knew the moment I saw him. BUT still, they make me wait. He adores my 6-year-old daughter, love at first sight. He worships my husband, loves me, and we are crazy for him. The trial ends, I pay my fee, sign the contract, and we celebrate our adoption.

Toby (formerly known as Corned Beef) is the perfect addition to our family. He is super smart and is learning a ton of tricks. His body has the cutest wiggle. When he wags his tail, everything wags. He loves playing outside, is great with kids and dogs, and is all around the best dog for our family.

Photo Credit: Lesley Martinez Photography

After such a great experience, I decided to reach out to Path of Hope’s Director to see how I can help give back and support such a great organization. Guess what? Now I am a Matchmaker. I get to do the phone calls and match puppies with their “Furever homes.” I work for an organization that cares so much about the homes in which their dogs are placed. I could not have asked for a better ending to a story I didn’t know was being written.

[Path of Hope Rescue exists to rescue pregnant dogs and puppies under six months old. They set them up for the best possible life by careful screening of adoptive homes, continuing education, resources and training incentives to keep dogs in the home–FUREVER. ]

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