Back in November 2016, Emily Taphouse had her world turned upside down then her husband Korey was killed in a hit-and-run accident. There was an immediate crater blasted into their family after his death.
Feeling like the family would never be whole again, there was a lot of grief and sadness in the household – until a pair of bulldogs came onto the scene.
The morning that the tragedy occurred, it was very difficult for Emily to explain to her daughters, 4-year-old Hazel and 2-year-old June, that their father was never coming home.
As Emily explained to The Dodo, “Telling her that her dad died, and also that she wasn’t able to see him, was almost worse than the accident itself.”
Emily did her best to give the family a new beginning by selling the house and moving closer to Grand Rapids, Michigan. Emily also decided to adopt a brown and white bulldog puppy named Fern.
When Emily brought home Fern, she was relieved to see how quickly Hazel and June took to the dog, and vice versa. It seemed that there would be a healing process after all.
Emily said, “It’s like I could feel a patch be placed on my heart. I watched as my girls squealed and played and loved on her. She changed everything.”
The four made a happy family again, however, Emily did note that Fern seemed sad every time she socialized with other dogs but then had to go home. It made Emily worry that Fern was lonely, despite having the full attention of her human family.
That is when she started playing with the idea of getting another pet. However, as she said, there was a lot to think about, “It seemed that every dog we were finding in the shelters and adoption groups was either not good with small kids, or kitties, or was too old to keep up with our 1-year-old stinker.”
After a fruitless search, Emily had given up on the idea of finding the perfect fit. That was until she was tagged on a Facebook post. It was the sad story of a foster dog named June, who was another bulldog with a difficult past.
Emily said, “She figured I could help find [Juno] a home since I’m always trying to help find homes for animals who need them. I took one look at her and said, ‘Yeah. ME!!!’ I just knew. Her foster mama, Victoria, told me she had been abused and neglected. I was expecting her to be timid, aggressive or frightened. Instead, we sat on the floor to meet her and she happily laid her 74 pounds directly across my 30-pound 4-year-old.”
“[It was] love at first sight,” she added.
When Juno arrived at their home, all three of them did there best to welcome Juno and make her feel loved and safe.
“She had previously been hit when she tried to get on the furniture. I got her home, and we talked her into going on the couch. She looked like she had found a piece of heaven,” Emily revealed.
What Emily couldn’t have predicted is just how much of a bond Juno and June would forge. The two became inseparable and would constantly watch TV or listen to music together.
“June cares for her like she’s a small puppy,” Emily said. “She asks her if she’s OK, if she can get her anything. She puts blankets on her.”
Both dogs were exactly what the family needed. Fern brought them a renewed and playful energy, while Juno was that calming presence that everyone needed as well. In fact, Juno enjoyed spreading her love by resting her paws on the legs of her humans – as though reassuring them.
“She is the most gentle baby. She quite literally loves anybody and anything. My cats even snuggle up to her,” Emily explained.