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Mango: More Than Just a Dog, My Emotional Support Animal and Lifelong Friend

Golden chihuahua emotional support animal with two images of the little boy who was his best friend.
Maddox & Mango

When I was a kid, my parents put me in taekwondo to help better manage my anger issues as well as learn valuable life skills, respect, and empathy. As a reward for my hard work on the good days, my mom would reward me with a visit to the pet store in the same strip mall. It was my favorite thing to do.

One day, amidst the playful chaos of barking dogs and excited customers, I spotted him—a golden chihuahua, with eyes that immediately connected to my heart. In that moment, it felt like the world around us faded away, leaving only me and this tiny, nervous, wide-eyed puppy.

Day after day, I returned to the store, drawn to this puppy like a magnet. Despite my parents' reservations about bringing a pet into our home, I couldn't shake the feeling that he was meant to be mine. He was there so long, he went on sale; and my mom and I worried he would either find a different home or end up at the pound, without a family of his own.

Then came that unforgettable Halloween in 2009, when a blanket of snow covered the ground. After much persuasion, my dad agreed to come and meet this puppy. They put all four of us in the little pen area and my golden puppy was so shaky and nervous. I don’t know what went through my father’s mind in that moment, but he said something that will stick with me forever: “Get him what he needs; he’s not staying here.” I was so filled with joy! We named him Mango, inspired by his mango-colored fur and tiny stature.

From that day forward, Mango was more than just a pet—he was my loyal companion, my confidant, and my source of comfort. His intuitive nature seemed to sense when I needed him most, offering silent support during my darkest moments. My mom realized how much I needed Mango and got him certified as an Emotional Support Animal so that he could be with me whenever I needed his magical powers.

As the years passed, Mango became an integral part of our family, his presence filling our home with love and laughter. He taught me valuable lessons about empathy and compassion, showing me that sometimes, the greatest strength lies in kindness. I knew no matter what, I could expect unconditional love and snuggles from my faithful companion.

When Mango's time came to leave this world, he let us know with the same grace and dignity that defined his life. His last day on Earth, November 19th, is ingrained on my heart. Though he may be gone, his memory lives on in the countless moments we shared and the profound impact he had on my life.

Mango wasn't just a dog—he was my best friend, my teacher, and my guardian angel. And for that, I will be forever grateful. Kids who’ve suffered trauma as I have can greatly benefit from having the unconditional support of a pet that loves them always. It’s only been 5 months, but his paw prints will be seared on my heart forever and not a day goes by that I don't think of him.


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