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After losing her Pit Bull Mocha, Jade Young brought a special-needs dog into her home and heart.
Her floors had never been cleaner. She could go on vacation at a moment’s notice. Sure, there were benefits to being dogless for the first time in her adult life, but after spending several lonesome months mourning her departed Pit Bull, Mocha, Jade Young was ready to start sweeping up dog hair again. And so, along with her husband, Jade adopted Rocky, an Olde English Bulldogge from Don’t Bully Me Rescue in Texas. She was hoping Rocky would fill the void Mocha had left in her heart, but unfortunately her new dog only had eyes for one human.
“Rocky just fell in love with my husband and wanted nothing to do with me, to be honest,” Jade explains. “I still kind of felt lonely, and it started making me think that I should open up my house to another dog as well.”
Eventually Jade decided she would offer to foster another Don’t Bully Me Rescue dog. She had never done any fostering before, but a picture of an adorable Pit Bull pup with a cleft palate and lip convinced her it was the right thing to do.
“There was just something about her eyes,” Jade recalls.
Perhaps those eyes — which belonged to a then 10 month old named Saki — were looking around for someone to love. Sweet, trusting, and happy, Saki’s mission in life was to spread joy to others. It’s a mission that would likely have ended too soon if Don’t Bully Me Rescue hadn’t found her. According to Jade, the young dog would have been euthanized if the rescue hadn’t pulled her from a small shelter in Mesquite, Texas, where she’d been found as a stray.
“They were going to put her down because of her cleft palate,” Jade says. “I literally start crying sometimes when I think of that.”
Luckily for the little Pit Bull, her brief shelter stay would be a mere blip in a life devoted to joy — a life that restarted the moment Don’t Bully Me Rescue brought her to Jade’s home.
“I dropped to my knees and started crying because I had no idea how small she was. She was only 28 pounds, and for a bully that’s really small,” Jade recalls.
She says her husband was sleeping when Saki arrived, but that didn’t stop the little dog from bonding with him immediately.
“I just went and placed her on the bed in there,” Jade remembers. “He just opened his arms, and they just cuddled and fell asleep together.”
At that point, the only member of the household Saki had left to win over was Rocky. Jade worried that if Rocky played too rough, he could potentially hurt Saki’s cleft palate — meaning she wouldn’t be able to stay, but once the two dogs got together, Jade could see she had nothing to worry about. The pups became fast friends, and Rocky surprised Jade by being submissive to his new little sister.
“It was kind of like he knew there was something special about her, and he respected that,” she says.
With Rocky on board, Jade’s first attempt at fostering quickly turned into forever.
“Within like four hours, I turned in an application for adoption,” she says.
Jade says she’s happy she and her husband were able to look past Saki’s special needs, because although the dog’s lips are completely open to her nasal passage, veterinary specialists believe she can still live a long and happy life — even without corrective surgery.
“We’re just very careful about what she puts in her mouth. I have to clean her palette everyday,” Jade explains.
Saki taught Jade what a caring family can do for special needs dog, and inspired her to open her home to other foster dogs — who have all learned the house rules from Saki. Her latest foster pupil is Rey, an adult dog who suffered significant mouth and foot injuries before ending up with Don’t Bully Me Rescue. Rey lost her lips at some point in her previous life, but Saki is teaching her how to smile without them.
“She probably came from a puppy mill,” Jade explains. “Saki accepted her immediately and took her under her wing, showing her cool things about the yard — she just did a great job with her.”
The two foster sisters are cuddle buddies and (along with Rocky) partners in mischief. Jade’s floors may be dusted with a little more hair than they once were, and family vacations are less spontaneous, but the loneliness she once felt has been chased away by now 2-year-old Saki.
“She completed me. She’s my heart dog. She’s just blown me away with the happiness that she brings.”
Heather is a wife, new mom, and former TV journalist in Alberta, Canada. Her beloved Ghost Cat was once her only animal, but the addition of a second cat, Specter, and the dog duo of GhostBuster and Marshmallow make her fur family complete. You can follow Heather on Twitter and Google+.
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