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Melanie Andrews is a very special type of dog mom who shares a beautiful bond with her companion dog, Jake, that she rescued nearly two years ago.
Recently widowed, the 72-year-old woman was already having a rough year when she had to send another angel off to Heaven, her cherished dog Lola, a Staffordshire terrier.
Lola had been with Andrews through thick and thin, including through the loss of her dear husband, and losing her was a hard blow for the kind-hearted woman.
Thankfully, Andrews is a treasured grandma, and her grandkids were determined to lift her spirits up.
Andrews explains how much her grandkids helped her decide that she needed some companionship in an interview with The Dodo, which ultimately led to her and little Jake finding each other.
“I was feeling down and a little depressed. My grandkids came over one night, and they said, ‘Grandma, you need somebody to keep you company. You can’t just sit around here all by yourself.”
Listening to her grandchildren got Melanie’s cogs turning and it only took two weeks for the seeds they planted in her mind to take root and sprout.
Before long, she was headed down to the Front Street Animal Shelter in Sacramento, California, just a thirty-minute drive from her home in Galt.
Andrews had a plan in mind when she got to the shelter and knew exactly how she would find her new friend.
She explains that she didn’t just want to find a companion to cheer herself up, but she wanted to honor her dog Lola’s memory by helping out a lonely shelter dog the way that Lola had helped her through so much loss.
“I wanted to help somebody — a dog — like Lola helped us, and so I told them I wanted the oldest dog they had, the one that everybody was passing up, and that I wanted to adopt him. I don’t care if he’s sick, I don’t care if the shelter can help with bills. I don’t have a lot of money, but I’m sure I have enough to take care of a little dog.”
With a heartfelt request like that, who could ever refuse?
Thrilled that a big-hearted person wanted to take one of their long-time residents home with her to give them a good retirement, the shelter employees were all too willing to take Andrews on a tour to the kennels.
They led her to a kennel that was housing three small dogs, but only one stood out to Andrews immediately.
Jake was an old Terrier dog, 12-years-old, to be exact, who had already been at the shelter for quite some time. Even though he was older than the rest, he immediately perked up when he heard Andrews enter the room.
“Jake’s two friends ignored me, but Jake perked up and started howling. So I said, ‘It looks like he wants to go, and I’ll take him.’”
Before the shelter employees got ready to draw up Jake’s adoption papers, though, there was something that Andrews needed to understand. As the shelter pulled Andrews aside, they let her know what state Jake’s health was in …full disclosure.
As this heroic dog mom figured might be the case when she asked to adopt the unadoptable, Jake was facing some serious medical issues, one of them that was deemed to be fatal.
“They informed me that he had cancer and he had a limited amount of time. And I thought, ‘We’re going to make his time as good as we can make it.’”
The realist grandmother wasn’t looking for a young, excitable puppy with no health issues or any problems getting adopted. She was looking to save a life, even if only for a little while.
The shelter’s PR Coordinator, Bobby Mann talks about how elated the staff was to see Jake get to go live out his days in a loving home.
“It was amazing because she was one of the few people who actually gave this dog an opportunity, and you could just tell from that picture of how excited that dog was to have an opportunity to get out of the shelter. He was one of our longest-standing residents. We were hoping that someone like her would come along, and give him the life that he deserved.”
While Jake was excited to meet his new forever mom, the car ride was a little rocky to start out. After a few minutes in the car with his loving new owner, though, Jake started to fall right into place.
“He laid his head in my right hand, and I drove with my left hand. It was like he was saying, ‘OK, let’s see how we do together.’ It was really cute. I’ve never had a dog do that to me.”
Little did Andrews know when she picked Jake to be her furrever friend that their bond would start to cement itself so immediately.
When she pulled up with Jake in tow to show him his new home, it quickly became apparent that just like his new mom, Jake had had a previous family of his own in his life. He displayed the behaviors of a dog that’s comfortable living in a house setting.
“You could tell by the way he came into the house that he’d been living in a home. He hadn’t been living on the streets for very long. He knew to crawl up on the chair, turn himself around, lay down and go to sleep, just like you see a cat on a chair.”
It wasn’t too long before Jake had the lay of the whole place, including the huge fluffy human-sized dog bed that he so lovingly shares with his new mama, purely out of the kindness of his heart.
In fact, Jake has taken to his new home so well that Andrews has become increasingly hopeful about the length of time she’ll get to spend with her new best friend, with a strong dose of realism, of course.
“The way he’s taken a turnaround here, I may end up having him for a year — maybe two if I’m really lucky.”
Even if she does get to spend a little bit of extra time with Jake, she knows that one day he will pass and she will ultimately be okay with that because she gave him the one thing she promised herself she would…happiness.
“When he goes, I’ll know he went happy.”
Jake isn’t the only one who is benefitting from this newfound friendship, though.
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Andrews believes that Jake has helped her out every bit as much as she has helped him since they met in the summer of 2017, describing the depth of their bond and how it grows stronger every day.
“Every day I laugh a little bit more. It’s not so lonesome. I think [Jake] knows that I love him because he’ll come over to me and he’ll rub up against me and ask me to rub his backside. And then he’ll nose me with his nose. And a dog that doesn’t know that somebody loves him wouldn’t be doing anything like that.”
No, he certainly wouldn’t. If you would like to help other homeless dogs at the Front Street Animal Shelter find loving homes and families as Jake did, please consider making a donation here.