HIGHLAND | Johnathan Karahalios had wanted a puppy forever. His mother, however, was never really on board with the idea after having bad experiences with dogs.

Then along came Bruiser.

Bruiser, now McCoy, is a puppy who found a home through I Wanna Go Home Rescue in Dyer.

Emily Hudec, Karahalios’ girlfriend, was at the Highland Petco shopping with her family when she first saw Bruiser. She fell in love with him instantly and, knowing Karahalios' birthday was near, bought him on the spot.

She cleverly called her boyfriend and asked him to run errands, starting with a run to Petco. The couple walked in and Karahalios immediately started petting and playing with Bruiser.

“Isn’t he adorable?” Hudec asked.

“He definitely is,” said Karahalios.

“He’s yours,” she replied.

Karahalios’ parents had approved the purchase in advance, Hudec added. His dad was always in favor, but his mom was always against it.

Now she's glad she changed her mind. Karahalios’ mom is in love with McCoy. She can’t get enough of him. She's had a complete change of heart.

Bruiser was renamed McCoy and his happy in his new home. He chews on everything and has a few accidents in the house, but he’s very sociable with people and  other dogs.

It is hard to tell which life has been more impacted by this special day. “We go everywhere together. He’s my little companion,” Karahalios said.

Another success story involves Baby, a 2-year-old half Miniature Pinscher and half Dachshund surrendered because her owner could not take care of a dog. She found a foster home, but was brought back to I Wanna Go Home Rescue.

Understandably frightened, she could not stop shaking after having been uprooted twice in one month.

That was until Deborah and Billy Delph walked into the Highland Petco. They saw Baby and immediately wanted to adopt her.

“We love animals,” Billy Delph said. “We are just animal lovers.”

As if she knew that she was going to a good home, Baby stopped shaking and headed home to meet the Delphs' other dog and three cats.

I Wanna Go Home Rescue is a group of volunteers engaged in the no-kill rescue of animals. A 501 (c) (3) nonprofit active in Indiana and Illinois, the group's mission is to help animals and offer care and a peaceful living environment for all animals in need of a safe and loving home. All of its animals are in foster homes until the right “forever home” comes their way.

They are provided with any medical attention that may be required, are all spayed or neutered and brought up-to-date on shots before being placed in their new homes. When time permits, dogs are also house-trained and taught basic obedience.

Contact the rescue group at (708) 955-8375 or admin@iwannagohomerescue.org, or visit www.iwannagohomerescue.org.