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.
Finally, after so many years and thousands of shares on social media, JJ found a family who loved him until he drew his last breaths. Sadly, JJ passed away only one year after he was adopted, but he died knowing that he was deeply loved, respected, and appreciated.
According to JJ’s good friend, Helen Anne Gately, JJ passed away yesterday – but not before he found unconditional love, compassion, and respect. Helen Anne stated:
Yesterday, JJ peacefully went to the rainbow bridge. On Friday, his family invited us over to say our good byes.”
Helen Anne, who founded the organization Saving Our Seniors (SOS), worked tirelessly to help JJ find a family after he was saved from a lifetime on a chain. JJ, whose story resonated with animal lovers worldwide, was the organization’s first big success – and for eleven months after he was adopted, he knew nothing but love.
Yesterday, JJ’s good friends, Helen Anne and Tony, visited him for the last time. Helen Anne explained: “We sat with [JJ] in his favorite spot out on the back porch. He welcomed lots of affection with nose rubs and snuggles. It is never easy to make that decision to let our animal companions go, but he was ready and communicated that to his family. It is the greatest act of compassion we can give when they tell you it’s time to go. JJ was without a doubt a magnificent dog and we shall never forget you. Thank you for blessing our lives, albeit brief.”
While JJ was only with his adoptive family for one year, they made up for a lifetime’s worth of love during that time. Helen Anne stated: “We know there will be more JJs that will find their way to us, so we will continue to advocate for our senior’s through Saving Our Seniors (SOS). As JJ’s new guardians said to me on the day of their home check, ‘it’s not about us, it’s about him.'”
After so many years feeling unloved at the end of a chain, JJ’s time with his family was definitely “all about him.” Helen Anne added: “I know you were the happiest you’ve ever been this past year, knowing love and comfort with your devoted, loving family. It was all we wished for you and more. RIP, sweet gentle giant.”
There are still so many dogs like JJ out there who are waiting to know what it feels like to be loved – to be unconditionally adored, respected, and appreciated for the remainder of their days. Please, consider fostering or adopting a senior dog today.
To help Saving Our Seniors help other dogs like JJ, please click here. And if you or someone you know has an animal who is nearing end of life, know that you are not alone. Resources, including AHELP Project, are there to help you.
JJ’s family has chosen to remain anonymous, but please join Seattle Pets Examiner in sending your warmth, support, and condolences to his family and to his champions, Helen Anne and Tony, by commenting below. May you all find peace in knowing that JJ was so very loved – by all of you – and that his story touched so many lives and potentially saved them, as well.
Seattle Pets Examiner will miss you, JJ. RIP, sweet gentle giant. May we all know the love that you felt with your family.
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