Former Shelter Dog Heals Broken Hearts in Role as Grief Counselor

They have lost their homes, their independence, and in some cases, their loved ones. But in one Georgia town, people struggling with sadness have turned to a rescued canine for help. There is something about seeing Jovie arriving at Merryvale Assisted Living in Oxford, Ga. that brings World War II veteran Ross Bacon to his knees. He wants to get closer: seeing Jovie sparks an old memory.

“I didn’t have any money, but I had dogs in Kentucky. Dogs don’t turn on you, do they,” said Bacon.

And this dog is special. Adam and Angie Cooper first spotted the Shepherd-mix rescue before Christmas on an adoption flyer at their vet’s office.

“And the picture just drew us in, and it was amazing how her eyes just sort of spoke to us. And we went and met her,” said Cooper. “The rest is, I guess, dog history, we adopted her just before Christmas.”

Since then, Jovie as been visiting Merryvale Assisted Living regularly, a job she seems to take great pleasure in.

“Her job is to come in and be loved on,” says Adam Cooper, Jovie’s owner. It’s a job well done according to residents: because she has been so effective at helping them to heal with the pain of loss, Jovie will sit in on all future grief support group meetings.

“You know they go through grief, because a lot of these are leaving home,” said Nancy Reynolds, activities director at Maryvale. “And so there is a grief to that, for a lot of them, and adjustment period. So I think they can use Jovie in that respect a lot.”




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25 comments

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    May 1, 2012 8:04 pmPosted 1 year ago
    Mona

    One of the many reasons to rescue dogs

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  • May 1, 2012 8:04 pmPosted 1 year ago
    Jill

    Oh, I LOVED this video! Such a beautiful and special dog! <3

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    May 1, 2012 8:05 pmPosted 1 year ago
    Peggy

    Can’t wait to view this.

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  • May 1, 2012 8:05 pmPosted 1 year ago
    Paulin

    Just more proof that the very best thrapists don’t have PHD’s but muddy paws and wet noses :)

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    May 1, 2012 8:07 pmPosted 1 year ago
    Pennie

    I agree with Paulin. Dogs make the very best therapists!

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    May 1, 2012 8:12 pmPosted 1 year ago
    Ana Filipa

    :-)

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  • May 1, 2012 8:17 pmPosted 1 year ago
    Nikki

    She looks like my Sadie who is also a rescue ;)

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    May 1, 2012 8:18 pmPosted 1 year ago
    Janet

    Your page has so many ads that I can’t load it on my iPad. :(

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  • May 1, 2012 8:20 pmPosted 1 year ago
    Plato

    nice <3

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  • May 1, 2012 8:23 pmPosted 1 year ago
    Samantha

    Advocate and shared!!!!

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  • May 1, 2012 8:25 pmPosted 1 year ago
    Lina

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    Reply
  • May 1, 2012 8:31 pmPosted 1 year ago
    Deborah

    this is beautiful!god bless you angel

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  • May 1, 2012 8:31 pmPosted 1 year ago
    Chris

    Once again, “Dogs are good for you”.

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    May 1, 2012 8:44 pmPosted 1 year ago
    Ginny

    My first night alone in my house, I wanted a dog so badly. Comfort, warmth, protection, love…

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  • May 1, 2012 8:52 pmPosted 1 year ago
    Kim

    So true Ginny, I have a chihuahua and she is the best company ever !!!

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  • May 1, 2012 8:55 pmPosted 1 year ago
    Maureen

    I love her sweet, gentle eyes. They are filled with compassion- just like my little toy poodle, guido

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  • May 1, 2012 9:02 pmPosted 1 year ago
    Virginia

    dogs only want love and give back so much more understanding, compassion, and unconditional love

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    May 1, 2012 9:17 pmPosted 1 year ago
    Valeria

    yayyyy! and she is from Atlanta too :) )))

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    May 1, 2012 9:38 pmPosted 1 year ago
    Connie

    Wonderful! <3

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  • May 1, 2012 9:44 pmPosted 1 year ago
    Haley

    such a beautiful story.

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  • May 1, 2012 11:28 pmPosted 1 year ago
    Patti

    Ditto.

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    May 1, 2012 11:37 pmPosted 1 year ago
    Denise

    love this<3

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    May 1, 2012 11:43 pmPosted 1 year ago
    Nicki

    Awesome story….nothing like a canine counselor….the best!!!!

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    May 2, 2012 12:08 pmPosted 1 year ago
    Cheryl F

    Jovie looks so much like my Penny dog who’s been gone for over a year now – watching this brought back many good memories of her. I miss her. And btw, I love those slow, gentle southern accents! Good work you people are doing – I hope it spreads!

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  • May 3, 2012 6:25 amPosted 1 year ago
    Joke Puppy

    Wonderful story ! Anyone who has ever loved a dog would attest to their therapeutic value, and it’s no surprise that those who are grieving for some reason could benefit from simply petting a dog.

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