Jake's Story (Part 2)
Updated: Feb 27, 2020
NINE Reasons Why...
On July 16, 2019, Jennifer was scrolling through FaceBook and found a post by a Houston animal shelter that was desperately looking for a foster home for a dog and her NINE puppies. The post said that the dogs were going to be put down that day.
"I just knew," she said. "There have only been a handful of times in my life that I just knew something was the right thing to do. I called Adam and he said, 'Go do it.'"
Jennifer and her two daughters sprang into action. She called Houston Pets Alive to let them know to put a rescue tag on the dogs and then they spent the next few hours buying supplies and getting their garage ready for ten new dogs! With a serious amount of nervous excitement they headed to the shelter to pick them up. HPA asked them to go ahead and give the dogs names, so they chose Marvel characters, dubbing the momma dog "Nebula."
"When we arrived at the shelter, it was very fast." Jennifer recalled, "They said, 'Sign here.' They brought out two boxes of puppies and a pit bull mom on a leash and sent us on our way. I was stunned. Nebula was covered in scars and in that moment I realized that I knew nothing about this dog's history or how she'd ended up there."
On the ride home, Jennifer had time to think about what she'd just committed to. "What did I do?" It was a fleeting doubt, however, because when they got home it was a fast-paced transition to get everyone settled into their new situation. The next season of their lives was filled with messy and consuming work caring for (and especially cleaning up after) ten dogs, plus the two dogs their family already had.
"It was exhausting, emotional and gross," Jennifer recalled. "But it was also wonderful." Nebula turn out to be a very sweet momma dog who desperately needed love.
After her experience rescuing Nebula and her puppies, Jennifer had never been more aware of the desperate need in the Houston area for more people to step up and provide a place of care, healing and hope for dogs like Nebula and her puppies. The idea danced around in her head about launching a new non-profit and finding a place where she could house rescued dogs that wasn't in her garage. Every day watching the puppies grow and feeling more attached to their individual personalities, the thought that they were almost destroyed would sometimes hit like a sledgehammer. "I have to do this. I'm going to do this."
Within weeks of discovering this new calling, Jennifer found The Wildflower Ranch in Willis, Texas. This future home for Jake's House of Animal Rescue would be the perfect location for dogs to come to receive hope and healing. It was a beautiful 40-acre property in a rural, peaceful area, with room for dogs to run and play and be in nature. It was a place where dogs could learn to be dogs again. It also included a gorgeous Wyoming style log cabin ranch house and space for tiny homes that could be used for events and also as a rental property to help fund Jake's House.
Before that, "I was lost," Jennifer said. "I needed a new purpose, a challenge."
By the time they closed on the property, she was well on her way to being approved as a non-profit and collecting the people who would help form her board and a small team of staff to launch Jake's House of Animal Rescue. The calling and the dream began to become a reality so quickly!
There are already a handful of rescued dogs staying on the property, but there is so much more to do before Jake's House is ready to fling open the doors and run at full capacity. Jennifer and the team continue to need the help of donors to gift funds for the phase one build-out and volunteers giving their time to prepare and shape the facilities. The sweet pups currently on the property also need plenty of love, attention and a structured schedule as they physically and emotionally heal from their wounds. It takes a village! (Click these links if you'd like to DONATE or VOLUNTEER!)
Harris County and surrounding counties are inundated with abandoned, neglected and abused dogs that often end up on a euthanize list just like Nebula because of the lack of resources and people available to care for these animals. Jake's House of Animal Rescue is addressing this overwhelming problem by providing top-notch care for forgotten dogs. We are working diligently to bring them hope and healing and ultimately connect them with families to love. It's about quality, not quantity. It's a place that will give dogs like Nebula and her NINE, who had no hope beyond that FaceBook post, a chance at life, a chance to love a human and a chance to really be a dog again.
Jake gave Jennifer the beautiful picture how of a rescued dog could complete their family. (Read Jake's Story Here) Nebula gave Jennifer NINE reasons why she was now called be a part of the community of people that rescue animals. These people give their garages and hours and money and emotions (and even sanity on days that involve way too much doggy poopy). They give because it's the right thing to do. They give because sometimes a dog has no one else and they cannot advocate for themselves.
So, we want you to know that you're invited! You're invited to be part of this brave community that is tirelessly giving dogs their lives back. You're invited to get involved even in the smallest of ways! You're invited to discover what kind of difference you can make. It might even change your life if you're not careful :)
You're invited to join us in this incredible journey to build a place where miracles will happen.
*With a special thank you to Deb Evans for Chronicling Nebula's story.