ROCCO – I call him my puppy soulmate


My Heart Dog / Gina Pape
As seen in Unleash Jacksonville / No. 24 HEART Issue


It alllll started two years ago in July. Before I met my boyfriend, I was living alone and I missed our family dogs—we’d always had a dog (or three) running around. A house is just not a home to me unless there’s a dog running around! I went to the Jacksonville Humane Society three times in one week. The third time was the charm! I saw Rocco (previously Dixon) posted as a new dog that morning. I walked up to his cage when I got there and he looked completely exhausted. He let out a little tail wag and smile. That was it. I chose him. I brought him home and was completely in love right away. I wanted a dog who would never leave my side—that’s what I got, and so much more! As much as he’s attached to me, I’m just as attached to him. My family calls him Shadow Boy, as I trip over him on a weekly basis. I’ve had six family dogs throughout my life, but never one of my very own—Rocco is my first. I’ve never shared a bond or connection with a dog as I do with Rocco. He’s so special. He truly is my everything and will forever hold a piece of my heart. I honestly can’t put into words how much he means to me. He’s on my mind all day, every day—yes, I’m obsessed! I call him my puppy soulmate … he’s everything and more I could ever want in a best friend.

Photos: Woof Creative Photography


My Kylo – It hurt my heart to let him go

My Heart Dog / Laurie Fowler
As seen in Unleash Jacksonville / No. 24 HEART Issue


We were fostering three 7-to-8 week-old puppies for Fur Sisters Furever Urs Rescue for several weeks—two little girls and one boy who were taken from a bad situation. I was personally going through an extremely difficult time and fostering, along with my own pups, just helped ease the pain. The girls were quite hyper and would pick on the little boy. He just wanted to cuddle and be next to someone and usually that was me. He (Kylo) became a huge comfort for me. He helped me through many hard days.

Fast forward a few weeks … we’d pre-planned a vacation so another volunteer was going to take over fostering the puppies. I helped to get the girls get settled, but I just couldn’t bring myself to hand Kylo over, so I had my husband do it as I went to sit in the car crying. We’d fostered before and, although you love them all, you’re happy for them and their new lives. This time—with him—all I wanted was for his new life to be with us. But I knew my husband didn’t want three dogs. I was just so connected to him, it hurt my heart to let him go. The exchange was over and our drive home was rather quiet, minus the sniffles from my crying.

The whole time on vacation, and even when we got back home, I just felt lost.

Two days after our return, I was having a particularly bad day, and it just so happened that my husband told me that he had a meeting and would be coming home late. That just sent me deeper over the edge.

I was laying in bed when he got home. I didn’t turn around to acknowledge him, and before he said anything I felt the familiar sensation of excited little feet on the bed. I turned around to see the beautiful little puppy face I missed so much running up to me, ready for snuggles and kisses! Needless to say I burst into tears! Once composed, I asked my husband what made him bring him home and he said, “It was more important that you had him, then me not wanting a third dog.” He had planned the day after our return from vacation to pick him up after we got back. 🙂

Photos by Woof Creative Photography. See Kylo’s entire gallery!

Ode to My Coopie Coop

We were told Cooper was probably going to die only several weeks after we had adopted him from the Birmingham Humane Society. He was a sick little 8-week puppy, and the vet wasn’t exactly sure what was wrong with my very first baby. We decided to take him on a road trip to the beach to give him a good couple of last days … and we hoped beyond hope he would pull on all his puppy strength and magically get better to live with us forever.

It seemed as soon as we put is tiny paws in the sand, that’s exactly what happened! He bounded over the hills of sand in a joyous puppy way. He played and got stronger the week we were there. We always said the ocean cured him.

Coopie Coop went everywhere with us. He would burrow under the covers at my feet every night and would come out panting like crazy in the morning when I would say “want to get up, Cooper?” He became my very best friend, and I relied on him as we first moved to Jacksonville and I had no friends.
He lived to be 10. The day came way too soon and I wasn’t prepared. 

I miss his sweet face, and his asking to be put up in the bed, (please mom?). I miss his disctinct smell and the way he would sing if I asked him to. I miss how he made me feel like the second most important thing in the world, after food.

I love Cooper in a way that is hard to express in human words, but anyone who has met their heart dog knows the joy and the pain. I can’t say there won’t be another heart dog, but I will never forget my first. My funny boy. I so wish I could take you to the ocean again.