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Saved from a hoarding situation, Joey now lives with a family who adores him.
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The end of a dog’s life is never easy. Watching our beloved companions age and then decline, no matter how hard we try to stop the process, is an inevitable reality every pet parent must face. And just when you think you can’t take another heartbreak, here comes another dog, walking into your life and changing everything. That’s exactly what happened when Julie Walker rescued Joey, a sad, frightened little pup who desperately needed a loving home to help him forget his difficult beginnings. Here’s how Joey left his indelible paw prints on his new mommy’s heart.
“My rescue story is not unlike other stories, but it has been life changing for me and a little dog named Joey. It all started in August 2014, when my beloved Gizmo was dying right before my eyes. After 16 years of raising him, I just couldn’t accept that this was it. About a month before he passed, I was looking around online at various pet shelters to see if I might locate a companion for Gizmo who might help bring him back to ‘life,’ and came across the sweetest, most innocent looking pup at Southlake Animal League in Groveland, Florida.
He was given the name Jonquil, which means flower, and he was a dingy white color with the saddest, most beautiful eyes. I was drawn to him instantly, not only for the way he looked, but also because he shared a similar breed with my Gizmo, who was a Pekingese and Lhasa Apso mix. My husband and even my sister didn’t see what I saw in the little dog, but I knew I had to have him in my life.
We called the shelter and he was still there, so that weekend we went and adopted Jonquil, who we quickly renamed Joey. During his adoption, we found out about the difficult first three years of his life. He was a victim of a massive hoarding situation and had been part of a 26-dog rescue. He had been caged for most of his life and was never shown love or attention. He didn’t know how to walk, be petted, or even accept love and security. The only things he paid attention to were other pets.
It has been a long, adventurous year and a half with Joey. Right from the get-go, I knew I had to handle him with kid gloves, as he needed extra-special treatment and to know he was so loved already. Besides not being able to walk, he was slightly overweight, we assume due to not walking much, and was terribly afraid of people. When we were in the room with him, he would often sit in a random corner or go hide in the next room all by himself. It was heartbreaking.
Joey was drawn to chewing furniture, almost like he was a puppy, even though he was 3 years old. He was also less than potty trained, and it was a struggle trying to train him to go potty outside, while learning how to walk and trust people all at the same time. Another big obstacle was getting him to walk or run near us, which didn’t take long once he began walking and running on his own.
Gizmo passed in September 2014, which set me back personally while my heart literally broke in two, but Joey has helped me heal, just like I’ve helped him. I’m a hugger and a kisser, and I raise my fur babies as my children, so they are my number-one (some people say I maul them, but my dogs don’t seem to mind). After Gizmo passed away, Joey received lots of kisses and hugs. He reminded me so much of my Gizmo and the loss I was still suffering, that I really think all that extra attention is what contributed to bringing him out of his shell.
Joey loves to play with his fur brothers, Tobi, a Chihuahua we adopted in November 2014, and Jack, a black Lab we adopted in June 2015. It’s rather amusing to see the three of them play, as Joey dominates Jack, and Tobi, who weighs about 6 pounds, is always attached to Joey with his mouth. But Joey doesn’t seem to mind — he always wears a wide smile on his face!
So there really was a reason that Joey came into my life, and vice versa. He absolutely adores me and is my protector, all 14 pounds of him. No one will ever harm him again, and I will always have this little white pup watching every move anyone makes if it involves me in any way.”
Julie and Joey’s story is a prime example of why we adopt and rescue — to save lives, change lives, and improve lives, one dog at a time. Because in the end, dogs rescue us as much as we rescue them!
A devoted dog mom, journalist, and animal activist, Lisa uses her writing to spread awareness about animal welfare and cruelty issues. She lives in Atlanta with two spoiled German Shepherds, one entitled Pug, and a very understanding husband. Read more of her work at her blog and website, and follow her on Twitter.
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