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.”


  1. Mona says on  05/01/2012 at 8:04 pm

    One of the many reasons to rescue dogs

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

  3. Peggy says on  05/01/2012 at 8:05 pm

    Can’t wait to view this.

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

  5. Pennie says on  05/01/2012 at 8:07 pm

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

  6. Ana Filipa says on  05/01/2012 at 8:12 pm


  7. She looks like my Sadie who is also a rescue 😉

  8. Janet says on  05/01/2012 at 8:18 pm

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

  9. nice <3

  10. Advocate and shared!!!!

  11. this is beautiful!god bless you angel

  12. Once again, “Dogs are good for you”.

  13. Ginny says on  05/01/2012 at 8:44 pm

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

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

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

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

  17. Valeria says on  05/01/2012 at 9:17 pm

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

  18. Connie says on  05/01/2012 at 9:38 pm

    Wonderful! <3

  19. such a beautiful story.

  20. Ditto.

  21. Denise says on  05/01/2012 at 11:37 pm

    love this<3

  22. Nicki says on  05/01/2012 at 11:43 pm

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

  23. Cheryl F says on  05/02/2012 at 12:08 pm

    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!

  24. 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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.