Patrick Wilson and his family are huge advocates for rescuing dogs — but their third adoption, Louise, really put them to the test.
When she joined the family at eight weeks old, Louise immediately wanted control of the household.
“She put us to the test when she was little,” Wilson, one of our Sexiest Men Alive 2016, tells PEOPLE. “We really had to establish that we were the boss, because she was trying to rule the roost. These ears — at first they crossed they were so defiant.”
It got so bad that Wilson’s wife wanted to bring her straight back to Ruff Rehab in Clifton, New Jersey.
“She tested our will, certainly. There were times early on when my wife was like, ‘I’ve got to give her back!’ I was like — ‘We’re not giving her back!’ ”
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But after their second dog passed away from cancer, Louise suddenly softened up, as if she understood that the family needed comfort.
“Once the other dog passed away, all of a sudden she became more affectionate,” Wilson says. “She took over that role.”
Now Louise is happy to show you her love.
“She’s a big licker, it’s just a constant barrage of tongue.”
The entire experience taught the Wilsons so much more about dog adoption.
“When you rescue a dog, you just don’t know what you’re going to get,” he says. “Every dog is different, just like every kid is different, and you hope for the best. It taught us a lot of understanding, and how to deal with an animal like that. We really believe in rescuing, and she’s brought us so much joy and love.”