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Man Goes From Cusp Of Death To Championing Animals & Humans.

When Zach Skow rescued Tug, Marley, and Buddy from a shelter, he rescued himself in the process. He just didn’t know it at the time.

He started drinking heavily at a young age, just 16 years old, and his problems escalated from there, peaking in the mid-2000s while he was working at an Arizona comedy club. By the time he was 28 years old, the years of alcohol and drug abuse had caught up with him – more specifically, his liver – and doctors gave him just three months to live without a transplant.

zach skow in hospital

But he couldn’t get a transplant unless he was sober for at least six months. And that’s where Tug, Marley and Buddy entered the picture. By the time they met, Zach was a skeletal shadow of his previous self and didn’t have much of a will to live – but his fuzzy buddies depended on him, and that provided just enough of an incentive to get up in the morning.

“My dogs were all looking at me like I was the sexiest man alive,” he recalls. “They didn’t see the desperation, they just saw the person that they love. They were looking forward to a future.â€

Caring for pets of any kind involves much more than just feeding them and making sure they have enough water. Dogs need walks as well, and Zach soon found himself not just exercising, but eating healthier and working harder than ever before to stay sober. During the following months, he went in for regular blood tests, and he remembers the doctors “kept looking at me with these puzzled looks on their faces.â€

Then one day they announced something miraculous, with the help of his dogs, Zach had turned is life around so completely that he no longer needed a liver transplant! 


Zach, who now refers to himself as a “professional dog rescuer and people saver,” has since founded Marley’s Mutts, a non-profit that rescues, rehabilitates, trains and finds homes for dogs rescued from a high-kill shelter in California’s Central Valley. The organization has now saved more than 5,000 dogs, and works through its Miracle Mutts program to educate the community about the healing powers of pet ownership.

As well, Marley’s Mutts staff and volunteers bring their furry charges to visit veterans, hospital patients and people with special needs, letting them work their therapeutic magic…

zach visiting hospital

And pairs them with inmates who help socialize and train them, thereby increasing their chances of being adopted. And the effects are so heartwarming.

Meet Robinson.


Robinson tried his best to stay tough in his pics but he just couldn’t resist the power of Tyson the Yorkie! Inmate Robinson has been incarcerated since he was a kid. He’s been in prison for almost 10 years, he’s just 27. He’s a promising young man with a bright future.

He’s been working on his own non profit organization while inside, which we’ve been reviewing and critiquing. He’s a dude who loves to smile and laugh–my feel of it is that he didn’t do a lot of either until our program began. Robinson impresses me each week and is starting to really engage and apply himself.

Zach’s successes with the “Pawsitive Change program have led to several awards and a recent advertising stint with the Jockey’s “Show ‘Em What’s Underneath, Show ‘Em Your Jockey”campaign. The campaign features everyday heroes whose stories serve to highlight one point: It’s what’s underneath that matters.

zach skow jockey

The great things about dogs is they don’t care what you look like on the surface. For them, all that matters is what’s inside. Fortunately for them, and for Zach, the love he felt for his rescue dogs was enough to overpower his demons and led to a monumental change in the community around them.

Share his sweet story of recovery today.

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