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Bonding with man's best friend made 8-year-old Flagler County boy whole again, parents say

Robbie Gay started adopting older dogs, the ones he said people forget about. He said he knows what it's like not to be wanted.

Eight-year-old Robbie Gay is on a mission to adopt old dogs, the ones he said people forget about. Reasons behind that mission reach far beyond the Flagler Humane Society where he adopts those dogs.

Gay's bond with man's best friend is one that his parents said makes him whole again. 

"When Robbie first came home to us, he had a hard time finding an opportunity to be calm and to practice just being calm," Maria Gay, Robbie Gay's mom, said. "Understandably, he was angry when he came home to live with us and scared."

Maria Gay and her husband adopted Robbie Gay almost two years ago. Before that, he was in and out of foster care. Maria Gay said her adopted son found comfort in caring for dogs who, like him, needed a good home.

"It was the first time he was able to start seeing, 'OK, these people, I can trust them.' It was the first time I could see him in a calm state of mind," Maria Gay said.

Robbie Gay takes a special liking to the older dogs, adopting as many as he can. 

"He started connecting that everything needs a home no matter how old or what their situation," she said.

Then, in February, they had to put one of their dogs down. 

"It doesn't matter how long you've had something. It's how much you love it," Robbie Gay said.

He asked if he could hold Buffy as she went to Heaven. He told his mom, "I know how it feels not to be loved or cared for and I don't want any animal of mine to ever feel that way."

Maria Gay's Facebook post with her son's heartbreaking, innocent message went viral, inspiring Robbie and Maria Gay to get another message out there.

Well, today didn't go as we hoped but it's in the hardest of times we learn the best lessons and feel the most gratitude. Buffy was scheduled to have her teeth cleaned and removed today but Dr. Mac...

"We don't want any old dogs not to have a home just like we don't want any kids not to have a home," she said. 

"Sometimes people will adopt my age kids, but they might give them back," her son said.

"And what's always important? We don't give up. We don't give up on our dogs and we don't give up on our humans," Maria Gay said.

Robbie Gay said if you can’t adopt, donate or volunteer at your local humane society.

A bond with man's best friend, forming so much more.