For the first thirteen years of his life, JJ the German shepherd was chained to a tree in Washington State. Day in and day out, all year round, in all weather, he was alone and tethered to that tree. How he must have wondered when he would finally be loved. And now, finally, after so many years and thousands of shares on social media, JJ has found a loving forever family.
JJ's champion, Helen Anne Gately, stated today: "It was truly a blessing that this couple found their way to us.
Due to the amazing networking of compassionate dog loving people, they contacted us about JJ. When we asked, "Why do you want to adopt a senior dog?' they said that they took one look at JJ and knew they wanted to make his remaining time happy and filled with love."
The couple live in Seattle and JJ's friends, Helen Anne and Tony, will be able to visit JJ and offer his family support in any way they need. Helen Anne stated: "We knew they were serious when the husband said he was going to build a ramp for JJ so he could easily access the outdoors at his leisure. He made the most deluxe dog ramp we have ever seen! JJ will have a beautiful yard to laze about and will no doubt be doted on for all his days to come.
"We want to extend our gratitude to everyone from here locally in Seattle, across the US and beyond, for all the support. JJ had so many people rooting for him, surrounding him with the positive energy we needed, to find him the right home. The daily messages of encouragement and support held us up and gave us the strength we needed throughout this journey.
"We know there will be more JJ's that will find their way to us so we will continue to advocate for our senior's through our organization called Saving Our Seniors (SOS)."
JJ’s story resonated with animal lovers worldwide, inspiring hundreds of emails from as far away as Japan. He has so much love to give – and finally, he has found the family to reciprocate that love. JJ's family has chosen to remain anonymous, but please join Seattle Pets Examiner and the animal loving community in thanking them for opening their heart and home to this beautiful, deserving dog.
Many found JJ’s story almost unbelievable – who would leave a sweet dog chained up for more than a dozen years? After languishing at the end of that chain during all four seasons, day in and day out, a Good Samaritan intervened. Eight months ago, she demanded that JJ’s owner relinquish him. Fortunately for JJ, the owner did – and Bremerton, Wash. organization Animal Rescue Families (ARF) stepped in to help him. ARF volunteer Helen Anne Gately volunteered to help JJ when his situation became urgent - and she stayed with him every step of the way until he found a family.
Gately stated: “I’m advocated for JJ because ARF is a very small rescue with limited resources, run by one person and few volunteers. And I have a soft spot for seniors.”
Gately, whose own senior dog Aisha passed away earlier this year, was stunned by the initial response to JJ’s story. “We had a huge outpouring of responses from the Seattle Pets Examiner article and from Susie's Senior Dogs,” she stated.
“So many people expressed their compassion, wanting to know how they could help since they couldn’t adopt JJ. This inspired us to create Saving Our Seniors, or SOS. This campaign will allow us to continue helping dogs like JJ as well as educating and assisting pet guardians about resources to care for their aging dogs, rather than surrendering them to shelters.” To donate to SOS today, visit this link.
Gately is familiar with the plight of senior dogs like JJ – dogs who have long been overlooked, for one reason or another. "I adopted Aisha from ARF when she was 11. Her wise, soulful eyes spoke to my heart so I inquired about her,” she explained.
“I was the only one that did. When I learned of her abused and neglected past, I knew she’d have difficulty getting adopted. I adopted her without hesitation. She was an extraordinary dog who profoundly changed my life. I’m forever grateful for her – she’s why I’m advocating for our beloved seniors. Aisha was given a second chance in life and I acted on it.
“Adopting a senior dog is a very special act of compassion. I was constantly asked, ‘Why adopt an older dog?’ and I always responded: ‘Why not?’ Wouldn't you want someone to take you in and care for you in your golden years? Aisha and I had two years together. She passed away in my arms this past January knowing safety, comfort, and love on her final journey. She taught me a lot. I secretly believe she sent JJ along so that he, too, can know that... yes, we care.
"People don't like to think about the death of our animals, but it’s a reality when you adopt an older dog. When you have a plan in place, it takes the stress off of the moment so you can be present for your animal companion on their final journey. When Aisha was diagnosed with cancer and surgery wasn't a choice, I opted for palliative/hospice care.
"With the support of the local animal hospice group AHELP Project, I could continue caring for Aisha in a way that served her needs, while keeping her comfortable, knowing that her time could come at any time, but I had a plan in place. In the end, it was a beautiful departure and I knew that I had done right by Aisha."
Helen Anne added: "We know there will be more JJ's that will find their way to us so we will continue to advocate for our senior's through our organization called Saving Our Seniors (SOS). As JJ's new guardian's said to me on the day of their home check, 'it's not about us, it's about him.'"
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