Dog News

Father and Son Estranged for 29 Years, Dog Story Reunites Them

by Melanie

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Jessie Brothers cradles Nubbin as firefighter Anthony Johnson looks on, happily.

Earlier this week we brought you the story of Jessie Brothers and his dog Nubbin.  The Jack Russell terrier broke his leg when it became ensnared in a fence while chasing a groundhog, and Brothers could not afford the complicated surgery.  Nubbin was all he had, and the prospect of losing him sent him into a deep depression.  Anthony Johnson and Mike Tracy, firefighters in Lexington, Kentucky, split the cost of Nubbin’s medical expenses.

Jessie Kennard and his wife Carla came across the story online.  He immediately recognized the man in the photo, though he had not seen him in nearly 30 years – it was his father.  Kennard was raised by adoptive parents, but had a photo of the man that he last saw when he was five years old.

Thirty-four-year-old Kennard lives in Cleveland, Oklahoma, and in the last few years, became interested in finding his biological father.  He scoured the internet, but found no trace.  He had all but given up, but his wife had a prophetic dream that compelled him to keep the search alive.

“I went to bed Saturday night and I had a dream, just as real as ever, that we had found him.  The next morning I told my husband, ‘I had a dream that we found your real dad,’” Carla said.  “Somehow, it just felt like I should at least try to search one more time.  So, I started Googling, and there he was in the newspaper story.  When I saw the picture I immediately thought, ‘That’s Jessie’s dad.’  They look a lot alike.”

From the article Kennard was able to obtain the phone number of his father’s neighbor, Mary Sweeney.   He called her and she put his father on the line.  After only a brief discussion, Kennard knew without a doubt that this was the man for whom he had been searching.

“I haven’t seen him since he was 5 years old,” Brothers said, choking back tears.  “But the first time I heard his voice, I knew it was him.”

Kennard and his wife drove to Lexington for the long-awaited reunion.

Kennard was greeted by Brothers, who was holding a handmade sign that said “I love you Son, Daddy.”

“It’s really great to finally see you,” Kennard told Brothers.  “This is all part of God’s plan.”

“I’m so happy for Jessie,” Sweeney said, wiping away tears as she watched the men embrace.  “He needs to have somebody in his life.”

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The two Jessies give each other their first hug in nearly 30 years


Brothers had been married to a woman named Judy Gibson and together they had three children:  Jennifer, Maryanne and Jessie.  The couple split up in the early 1980s, and the children were placed in state custody and put up for adoption.  Debbie and Rick Kennard adopted Maryanne and Jessie, who was happy to learn he has a second sister living in Indiana.

“I finally decided that I had just waited until it was too late,” he said.  “I even went so far as checking death records and obituaries.  But nothing came up until now.  God had all this happen for a reason.”

Kennard, whose nickname as a boy was Nubbin, found out about his moniker – as a young child he lost the tip of a finger in a screen door.  He also learned that about 10 years ago, he lived about two blocks away from Brothers during a brief stay in Lexington.

Kennard is a seminary student, and said he feels “very, very blessed” by his adoptive parents, who he will always consider his true parents.  But he is glad to have finally reconnected with his biological father, who he plans to keep in touch with.

It’s a “Christmas miracle,” according to Carla.  “If it weren’t for his dog and the dream I had, we wouldn’t have found him.”

Brothers was happy to find out that he has three grandchildren, as his son and his wife have three children together.

“You know, money doesn’t mean anything if you don’t have love,” Brothers said.  “God has really shined on me.  I won’t need to get any more presents this year.”