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Dog helps Vancouver man beat crack addiction

Never underestimate the power of puppy love.
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Chiara O. Scuri, September 28, 2013 8:05:25 AM

Love is a powerful motivator. It doesn’t matter who you love, just that the love is strong enough to see you through dark times and difficult challenges.

Just ask Gary Pipe. The Vancouver man spent a lifetime battling a crack addiction and living on the streets. He was in and out of recovery programs by 2002 when, as Metro Vancouver reports, Pipe met the love of his life.

That love happened to have four legs, paws, and a silky coat. Kolby was a two-year-old German shepherd/golden labrador retriever mix whose then-owner, Jenny Konkin, used to bring him around to cheer up the inhabitants of her grandfather’s Avalon Hotel, where she had set up a non-profit to help some of the building’s more destitute residents.

At the Avalon, you see, many residents have hit the hard side of life. There were addicts, those struggling with poverty and people with mental illness. Kolby, like many dogs intuitively do, would cheer up these people who needed a little love.

Konkin often asked Pipe to take Kolby for a walk, knowing that after losing his hip to a blood infection, the exercise – and company – would do him good.

A little too good. “Jenny’s mother gave him to me to take care of,” Pipe told the paper, “and I got so attached to him I just said, ‘Well, you’ve either got to take him back or give him to me, because I’m getting too attached to him.’”

So she did. But when Kolby moved into Pipe’s room, he realized the crack he smoked was hurting his beloved dog.

“Kolby would either throw up or he’d want out of the room, so I knew if I kept smoking I was going to lose him,” Pipe said. “So I just quit smoking it and kept everybody out that was smoking it.”

For more than a decade, Pipe has been clean. He rewards his beloved pooch for his loyalty – and for the second chance in life he’s helped him achieve. And that’s the most beautiful love story there is.


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Chiara O. Scuri

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