When you rescue a dog, they rescue you right back. Dogs can have an incredible impact on our lives, bringing some joy and light to us when we need it most.
That was the case for one woman, who was grieving for her deceased dog when a very special rescue made her family whole again.
Oscar & Dexter
Nicole Wulfekuhle is the founder of Lennon’s Legacy Sanctuary, a non-profit sanctuary dedicated to animals with special needs. One of the most special of these rescue animals was a dog named Dexter.
Dexter was the runt of a litter born to a mother who had been sprayed with toxic spray paint during her pregnancy.
He had respiratory distress at birth, and was left almost completely blind and with mobility issues.
But Dexter had a loving home in the sanctuary, and despite everything he never let his disabilities get him down.
“He does not know he can not see and he does not know that he has a wobble,” the owners wrote on Facebook. “He just knows that he is a wonderful dog and that he is a very special boy.”
He loved to run and play with the other animals — and he had a special bond with a ginger cat named Oscar.
“[Oscar] is a nurturing kitty who loves to play with everyone, Feline or K9. He loved to cuddle with Dexter,” Nicole wrote on the sanctuary’s website.
While Oscar gave the blind dog plenty of love and friendship, sadly their bond was cut short too soon.
Dexter struggled with toxins, and his health issues took a toll on his quality of life. “His body began to deteriorate and he was no longer our happy little boy,” Nicole wrote.
On July 31, 2019, the owners made the difficult decision to “set him free to run over the rainbow bridge.”
“He left a huge void in our hearts and lives,” Nicole wrote. “Forever remembered for his adorable butt wiggles.”
“My life didn’t feel so good after Dexter left,” Nicole told The Dodo. “It took a long time to get over losing him.”
But no one was more heartbroken than Oscar, who lost his best friend: “He really missed Dex when Dex left.”
But when a beloved pet passes away, sometimes the best thing to do is to open your heart to a new friend in need of a home.
That’s just what Nicole did — and fate soon brought her a new rescue dog who helped fill the void Dexter left behind.
Nicole received a call from Dexter’s foster mom, who told her that she had a puppy who would be perfect for her.
It was Jude, a pittie who had been rescued in Georgia at six weeks old. His eyes were ruptured and he was very malnourished. His eyes had to be surgically removed, leaving him completely blind, on top of a number of other health issues.
“In his short life, this boy has been through so much,” Nicole wrote. Despite everything, she knew that Lennon’s Legacy would be the perfect forever home for this puppy in need.
“Jude is a smart, happy boy who loves his humans very much.”
Jude settled in well into his new home — and ended up making a huge impact on the family, helping them to heal after the loss of Dexter. And he proved to be the perfect new companion for Oscar.
Just like he did with Dexter, Oscar took the blind dog under his wing and became his best friend.
“Oscar’s made it his business to befriend Jude,” Nicole told The Dodo. “Jude wasn’t really given the opportunity not to be Oscar’s friend.”
In addition to filling the void left by Dexter, Jude proved to be a ray of inspiration. Despite all the difficulties he faced, Jude never let his blindness hold him back: he was always happy to play with the other animals and navigate the house.
“He’s been a great healer for all of our family,” Nicole said.
He lived his life to the fullest — even while continuing to battle his health issues. “Jude had numerous medical conditions which he dealt with amazingly well,” Nicole told We Love Animals.
“Sadly, in November 2021, he suffered severe complications from an emergency abdominal surgery,” Nicole said. “We had to make the very difficult and very painful decision to help him cross the rainbow bridge and release him from further suffering.”
While Jude left this world far too soon, he definitely made a major impact — not just on his family, but on people around the world who were inspired and moved by his story.
“In his short 23 months, Jude inspired so many people from all around the world,” Nicole told We Love Animals. “His world may have been in darkness but he was a light that shone very brightly. He is very much missed and will be forever loved.”
Oscar also passed away in January 2021, following a lifelong battle with stomach issues. But Nicole takes solace in knowing that Dexter, Oscar and Jude are now all up there together. “I am sure that all three are having a blast over the rainbow bridge.”
It’s a story that shows the amazing impact a rescue dog can make, both to humans and other animals. Jude found a loving family, and in return made their lives brighter.
Rest in peace, Jude — we know you’re looking after your loved ones over the rainbow bridge 🌈
Please share this heartwarming story!