A new relationship with animals, nature and each other.

‘Destined to Die’ They Saved Each Other

Zach and Marley on the road to recovery together

Zach Skow with Marley

Two and a half years ago, at age 28, Zach Skow was losing his battle with alcoholism and facing end-stage liver disease.

When his doctor recommended some light exercise, Skow tried taking the dogs his father had rescued for short walks. He couldn’t go far, and at first the dogs were a bit skittish, but gradually they settled down, and he was also able to go further each day.

“I’d thought I was destined to die,” Skow said. “The dogs gave me motivation to stick around. I found purpose because of them; I got better because of them.”

One of the dogs was Marley, a Rottweiler/pit bull mix. And since Marley and his buddies had given Skow his life back, he decided to return the favor by creating a sanctuary and adoption program, called Marley’s Mutts, for large dogs, who are among the more difficult homeless pets to place in good homes.

A big part of the rehab work that dogs need when they’ve been abused or abandoned is often about letting them be with other dogs as part of a group. So while Skow considers himself the pack leader, he calls Marley “the general” who “asserts himself, when needed, with one loud bark.”

With help from Marley, the dogs learn their basic manners, and are leash-trained, housebroken, and taught how to ride in a car. They’re all spayed or neutered before being adopted.

Over the past two years, Marley’s Mutts has found homes for about 250 homeless dogs. “They were throwaway dogs, and there was a time when I felt like a throwaway human being,” Skow said.

What do you say? Has a dog rescued you from some challenge in your own life? Let us know with a comment below or on Facebook.

What you can do: Visit Marley’s Mutts for more information, and make a donation, if possible, to support the dogs, including veterinary care and spay/neuter.