A Gift of the Heart / Jessica Caplette
As seen in Unleash Jacksonville / No. 24 HEART Issue
“There will always be that dog that no dog will replace, that dog that will make you cry even when it’s been gone more years than it could have ever lived.”
(MD ‘The gift of a great dog’)
I cried when asked to write a story for the HEART issue of Unleash Jacksonville. Just the mention of a heart dog was enough to flood my face with tears (in public…again). I lost my heart dog after a two-year fight with lymphoma.
But this story is about beginnings…
Remi was a black dog who wasn’t doing well in a rural shelter. Fur Sisters stepped up and gave her the break she needed. She had two failed fosters and was back in boarding needing a savior. So why not me?
Remi was on kitchen counters, sailing over couches, digging, chasing cars, jumping on people and scaring the crap out of anyone on a bicycle. She was a disaster! There was no way anyone was going to adopt her! Luke hadn’t been home all week, but Thursday night he got to experience our new foster first-hand. That night he slept on the couch with her and Remi was immediately smitten.
We sent our unruly foster to training the next day at Jet Set Pets. She came home a few weeks later a manageable dog! Luke worked with her every day for a few more weeks and Remi was finally ready for her first adoption event!
I vividly remember watching Luke take her into the yard at Brewhound and her looking at him like he was the only one in the park. With the grin on his face, I knew he found his heart dog. When we left that night, he asked if we could talk about keeping Remi. My heart was still shattered from losing Max, I wasn’t ready for a new family member.
A week later Remi was headed back down to Brewhound for a meeting with potential adopters. Luke was furious that I wouldn’t even discuss keeping Remi and I was forcing him to participate. “It’s not fair that you’re going to deny me experiencing with Remi what you had with Max!” Words true enough I had to choke back tears. I don’t think anyone should be denied the privileged experience of a heart dog.
We arrived and Kelly from Fur Sisters asked Luke to fill out some information on Remi that might help the adopters. He took the pen, likely cussing me out under his breath, and started to read the questions:
1. Would you love Remi forever?
He shot me a dirty look.
2. We hope you answered yes because she is yours forever!
Tears welled up in his eyes as confusion became understanding that this “adoption meet and greet” was all for him. Remi knew, because in that moment she jumped on him frantically kissing him…and wouldn’t you know it but there just so happened to be a photographer handy (thank you Layla Neal)!
I love dogs. I’ve loved all my dogs deeply. But I think you only get one heart dog. And I’m so grateful that Luke found his. •