This is a tale about Jessie. A female American Pitbull Terrier who along with a male dog, that we figured was a littermate as they looked identical were tracked and live trapped at a railroad yard.
The two had been spotted hiding out and scavenging for food on the property.
The photos below are of Jessie’s neck. She had been bound by a rope, cord, chain, who knows what that it cut into her throat. She had nothing on her neck when trapped she must have tugged and tugged to remove it.
In the photos you see Henry, her assumed littermate and running mate. They spent 4 days together in a homes basement awaiting rescue following being trapped. We were the rescue who stepped up and brought them into our fold.
Jessie and Henry went into separate foster homes to begin the healing process of gaining weight and healing wounds on their bodies. Jessie’s neck was truly the worst of it. After a month they met again and we had a very different outcome. They went right at each other. No explanation for their responses to one another, but it had now come to light that Jessie didn’t like other dogs; not even the dog she was trapped on the run with that cold night.
Fortunately Jessie was in a foster home that had no other animals, so she felt safe and didn’t need to worry about sticking up for herself, or showing what a badass she could be if threaten by the presence of another dog.
Jessie quickly made friends with Ivy, the young daughter in the home. Jessie would spend time cuddling with Ivy before she left for school and be right there when she returned home. Jessie showed her gentle, affectionate loving personality during those months in foster care.
Unfortunately after months on end of being in foster care, through the winter and into the summer where she was skunked twice in the backyard; she had to move on. Her fosters were putting their home up for sale and they needed to get all the holes in the yard filled in that Jessie had dug.
Jessie loved the huge fenced yard and would dig holes with a fury, dirt flying with her in the hole with her butt wiggling in the air. She knew when no one was paying attention and would go to town on those holes.
The decision was not made lightly as Ivy and Jessie were best buddies. Jessie moved into a boarding facility while she waited for another foster without animals to open up. She had a blast with the employees playing in the gym area, getting lots of cuddle time and treated like a queen.
A new foster home opened and she moved in, settling in right away. She loved her foster Mom, but wasn’t so sure about foster Dad and his kids. When it came down to it, they were afraid of Jessie and she felt it.
She did get lots of training time in with her foster Mom which was a really beneficial. Truly showed off how intelligent she is and she met every challenge placed in her way.
Soon she was booted from the foster home after the kids complained she played “too hard”. It was heartbreaking as foster options were not on the horizon and for the first time we would have to place in her vet boarding. No playgroups or extracurricular fun.
This was as heartbreaking for me as her, as the days turned to weeks to months. We would go on field trips to the park, forest preserve, home depot where ever it was safe to not run into other dogs and upset her.
One day we sat with a senior woman in the park and she shared her peanut butter sandwich with Jessie. Jessie was perfection sitting at the picnic table waiting patiently for her pieces of the sandwich from the woman.
Passerby’s at the park would stop and look at the Pitbull sitting so pretty at the table with the woman. It was a great day.
We were approaching a year and still hadn’t found Jessie her people. The rumbling began that perhaps I needed to accept that she was not adoptable. The time, money spent on one dog could have been used on several dogs. I posted a Hail Mary plea on Facebook begging for someone to please give Jessie a chance, just foster her, and I could continue to work with her on her reactivity and playing “too hard” with humans.
Finally after a week I received a phone call from a woman who wanted to foster Jessie until she moved in a month. She was packing up her home and moving to Colorado, but she had time to give to Jessie until the move. I contemplated if it would do more harm to move Jessie and then snatch her back into boarding. I decided she deserved a loving home even if it was for a short time and off she went with the woman.
One week passed and she was doing well in the home. She kept her foster Mom company while packing, followed most of the rules and scared off the neighborhood dogs. Then as I dreaded answering my phone as I recognized the number, I was blown away to hear that her foster Mom was asking if she could adopt Jessie. Despite all Jessie’s faults, she seen how special Jessie was deep down and with work, which she was willing to put in, Jessie would have a great life in Colorado.
I cried as they drove off on their way to their new home, I kissed Jessie goodbye so many times and told her I loved her, I think she was grateful her Mom rolled up the window.
Her Mom kept in touch with all the ups and downs. Jessie nipped a trainer. Jessie passed training. Jessie doesn’t like the horses at the ranch. Jessie loves the grandkids. So on and on.
Then this past spring I received an email alerting me to Jessie’s vet appointment in Colorado. How odd, right, so I messaged her Mom. Apparently someone looked at the records and called me, not her. This gave us a chance to catch up. Jessie is a therapy dog! Jessie is living her best life! Jessie is her Mom’s loyal companion and best friend! Jessie has an extended wardrobe.
From hiding in a railroad yard her throat slashed, malnourished, frightened and angry to a supermodel therapy dog living her best life filled with love. Jessie is living her happily ever after.
The scar remains on her throat, but not on her heart. She overcame it all and found her peace.
Jessie is proof that with hope. faith and perseverance, dreams do come true.