Asher and Bernie Jackson were true brothers, littermates, born in 2007 under very bad conditions. Fortunately, they were surrendered to Our Lil' Bit of Heaven Rescue and Sanctuary in Poland, Indiana when they were a few weeks old. There they received quality medical care, food and a lot of love.
In April of 2008, I began volunteering at the rescue which was in Martinsville, Indiana and I was currently living in Bloomington, Indiana. I fell in love with all the fur kids at the rescue and would have taken each and every one if I could. In June came the "100 year flood" and the rescue was completely surrounded by deep water. Boats were used and a group of volunteers went back and forth rescuing dogs. Many went to wonderful people who offered to foster until the rescue was back in operation, many came to our barn in Bloomington which became kennel city.
Asher went to a foster but was attacked by another large dog and sustained grave injuries. He then came to our house where the director of the rescue was staying also. He and I spent the days together while work continued on clean up at the rescue. Asher was extremely shy and it took a while for him to come to trust me. I fell in love and Asher became mine.
He was special from the beginning. He was definitely my dog and put up with my husband because sometimes he was the one that fed him. Asher and I developed a huge bond, he was my constant buddy. He loved to play with toys and he had the habit of carrying his food bowl all over the house, leaving a trail of kibble behind him. If one of the other dogs left their bowl, it was confiscated by Asher and added to his collection.
I moved to Madison in September of 2017 but I have continued to volunteer once a week at the rescue which moved to Poland, Indiana to a much bigger area in October, 2008. Bernie, also extremely shy was at the rescue all this time. He was my special guy at the rescue. Because of his shyness, he was not adopted and even though he would see me week after week, it took me years before he would let me touch him.
January 16, 2020. My dogs were having a very usual day. Asher was his same loving self, dragging his bowl all over, looking out the front window and barking at anything that dared walk past the house. That afternoon when they all went out in the yard, I noticed Asher was slower than usual and seemed to be wobbly. When they came back in, Asher collapsed on the floor. He went to the vet the next day and it was discovered he had a huge mass on his liver and an abdomen full of blood. That quick we went from OK to dying. Asher crossed the bridge on January 17, 2020 and my world turned dark.
I had a very hard time dealing with his loss. Two weeks after losing Asher, I was back at the rescue and the owner/director, Joyce, asked if I thought I might want to take Bernie home with me. Knowing he was Asher's biological brother and my attachment to him, she thought it would serve two purposes: help me with my grief and give Bernie a chance at a real home, one he had never experienced. (Bernie and I had come a long way by that time). I debated that entire day but decided to bring Bernie home.
Bernie thrived. He was a different dog and I was extremely happy. On March 8, he began showing the same signs Asher had, having a hard time walking, lethargic, not eating. He had lymphoma. We tried what we could but it was not to be. Bernie gained his angel wings on March 13, 2020.
I take comfort in the fact that the brothers are together once again. Even though I had Bernie for a short time, it was worth it. He gave me joy and he got to know what it was like to live in a loving home.
Please don't overlook senior dogs. Their time may not be years and years but they make up for it in the amount of love they have to give.
Run free Asher and Bernie. Wait for me at the Bridge.
-Written with love by Cathy Jackson
(You may visit Bernie's brother, Asher's, memorial page by clicking here.)
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