Waiting One Year

taking a chance 

The traditional definition of a family consists of parents and children living together in a household. However, family bonds can go beyond the kind humans share with each other. When rescue dog Brody came into Ellen Bookman’s life, she was completely unprepared for just how much her life would change. Brody is an energetic dog with a whole lot of love to give the world. He’s a black and white-colored mix of 25% labrador, 25% pitbull, 12% chihuahua, and the other 34% of his mix is unknown. Brody’s mother was taken in as a rescue into the foster care system where she then gave birth to Brody and his siblings.

Ellen wasn't looking for another dog after her previous companion Sammy passed away−he also was a rescue dog. When Sammy died, he left behind his best friend Marley, another one of Ellen’s rescue dogs, who was about 8 years old at the time. Ellen knew eventually she’d get another dog, but she wanted to wait at least one year.

Brody photographed in Marietta Square by Gracie Shackelford

Spontaneous Decision

One afternoon Ellen randomly went to a pet store with her best friend. She mentioned that she previously determined the next dog she was going to adopt after Sammy was specifically going to be a chocolate lab. However, a group of rescue dogs were stationed at an adoption event near Ellen, and that’s where she met Brody. Brody put his paw on her shoulder and leaned his head against her in a hug, and the rest was history! The instant Brody hugged Ellen she knew that Brody was going to be her dog. Ellen was also keen on adopting Brody due to Brody being a rescue dog because all her previous dogs were rescues too. Ellen spoke wonders about rescuing dogs, stating, “Adopting rescue dogs is important because many dogs have such unique stories, and when they’re rescued there a moment where the foster systems−much like the one Brody was in−provide a way for foster parents to really get to know a dog’s character.”

Brody was rescued by Ellen at just fifteen weeks old. He grew up with his siblings and mother in the same foster home, where his foster family really got to understand Brody’s soft and sweet demeanor. Ellen discovered, soon after the adoption, how Brody’s an energetic dog who enjoys exploring and meeting new people. It’s no surprise how Brody carries such a bubbly personality that will no doubt bring a smile to your face whenever you see him. Brody has been Ellen’s constant companion since she’s a stay at home boss. His favorite things to do are sleep next to Ellen when she’s working, flopping around on the ground when playing, and swimming in Lake Allatoona.

Young Brody - Photography donated courtesy of Ellen Bookman

a Rescue Dog'S iMPACT

Brody staring off into the distance in Marietta Square.

Photographed by Gracie Shackelford.

Brody came into Ellen’s life full of a lot of love.

When Ellen started experiencing various symptoms, such as not being able to focus, loss of feeling in her feet, and weight gain it became apparent something was wrong. In addition to these symptoms, Ellen felt herself become depressed. She had no grasp of what was really going on with her body and decided to seek help, so she went through a difficult period of unhelpful doctor’s visits. The doctors kept misdiagnosing her on top of over-medicating her, and everything seemed to culminate into a frenzy she couldn’t control…until she discovered the real truth: Ellen had Parkinson’s Disease. Parkinson’s is a progressive nervous system disorder; one which causes problems with mobility. Then, Ellen felt an even bigger loss beyond her new diagnosis following the death of her dog Sammy.

When Brody came into the picture, he brought a lot of love and happiness back into Ellen’s life, thing she thought she’d lost with her diagnosis. Brody’s been with Ellen throughout her entire Parkinson’s diagnosis, and now that she works from home, Brody sticks by her side always. “His constant companionship is a lifeline,” says Ellen, “I never feel alone anymore.”







Ellen knows adopting a dog is never perfect. The biggest challenge of adopting a rescue dog is the challenge of not knowing the dog’s background or history. When you adopt a dog one needs to be concerned about the dog’s trauma. If you’re not aware or concerned with a dog’s trauma it can impact how they interact with you. The key is to be kind and patient. Ellen reminded herself of this as she treated Brody with lots of love and affection. She wanted him to feel like part of her family…and in every sense of the word, Brody did become part of the Bookman family. Brody’s happy personality and enthusiasm in Bookman’s life has made dealing with Parkinson’s Disease much more bearable and provides Ellen with the support and comfort needed during such a challenging time.

Rescuing a dog like Brody seems like a daunting task but his bright and happy personality reminds the Bookmans how to get through hard times:  you lean on family. That's what Brody is to Ellen-another member of her family. At the end of the day though you might not realize that adopting a dog affects not only the dog’s life but your own. Rescue Dog Games is an organization that brings together pet rescues and other organizations to promote the idea of ”adopt−not shop”. Their main mission is to helps save the lives of dogs and show people the value of adoption.

"I never feel alone anymore."

Hugging session between Brody and Ellen. Photograph donated courtesy of Ellen Bookman.

For more information about Rescue Dog Games visit their website:


To learn more about Ellen Bookman visit her website:


For more information about Parkinson’s Disease check out these links:




© 2023 by Salt & Pepper. Proudly created with Wix.com