When the pit bull walked over to the ducklings, his reaction couldn’t be predicted. Would he see the little creatures as some new threat and bark at them? Would he retreat, like he did with other animals when he first met them? Fortunately, it turned out that his response was more heart-melting than nerve-wracking.
But he wasn’t always in a position to act on his gentle nature. Indeed, Jake the dog started life in a very different place, where he couldn’t be kept and wasn’t wanted. In fact, he was a living example of why pets shouldn’t be given as gifts.
Jake’s original owner received the puppy from a boyfriend she had only been dating for a short time. And while it’s not known if that relationship lasted any longer, the woman had no intention of keeping Jake and quickly set about trying to give him away.
That’s how 28-year-old Kasey Boggs of Wentzville, Missouri, came into the picture. She has been taking in strays since she was 19. And while Boggs hadn’t planned on adding another fur baby to her family, she nevertheless saw something she couldn’t ignore.
“I saw Jake’s face on a ‘help me’ ad floating around Facebook and Craigslist,” she told dog enthusiast website I Pitty The Bull in December 2015. “A woman, working two jobs, had been gifted Jake by a man she dated for two weeks,” Boggs added.
“It was more like a cry for help,” Boggs elaborated to The Dodo in April 2016. Indeed, when she saw Jake’s face looking at her from the photo, she felt an instant connection to the pit bull. “When I saw his picture… something told me I needed to meet him,” she also explained in her I Pitty The Bull interview.
So Boggs arranged to meet Jake and his owner in a parking lot. When the owner arrived, moreover, she dropped Jake into Boggs’ car without any hesitation. Indeed, she only asked Jake’s new mom for the $20 she would need for gas to get her back home. Boggs duly gave the woman $25 and took Jake to meet his new family.
Of course, Jake’s original owner did the right thing by giving him up to a loving home. After all, the poor pup desperately needed some normalcy in his life; apparently, the previous owner had yet to even take him out of his crate. “He had a minor case of worms and he was a little underweight, but all else seemed great,” Boggs told I Pitty The Bull.
Not surprisingly, then, it took the little pit bull a some time to get used to new concepts like the car and stairs. His biggest challenge, however, was Mia the cat. “He was like ‘Whoa. You’re different. I’ve never seen you and I think you might hurt me,’” Boggs recounted to The Dodo.
At first, Jake was terrified of Mia. After a week, though, he started to warm up to his new feline friend. “They ended up cuddling. That was good because it taught him unfamiliar things aren’t going to hurt you. You’re OK,” Boggs recalled.
Then Boggs went and brought home some more furry surprises. Specifically, she had learned that the nearby nursery was looking after some orphaned ducklings, and she just couldn’t resist adopting them, too. But because of Jake’s past anxiety over new things, Boggs was naturally apprehensive about how he might respond to the ducks.
So it came as a surprise when Jake reacted the way he did. “He laid right by their tub the first night and just peeked over and watched them,” she informed The Dodo. “He just really paid attention to them.” Boggs’ other dogs were nonplussed by the little fluffers, in fact, but Jake was mesmerized.
What’s more, when the duckies started wandering around by themselves, Jake even took on the role of a mom. “He goes up there and he just lays on his stomach right away,” Boggs said to The Dodo. “He knows that that’s the position he has to be in because they’re still so fragile. Their legs can break over nothing.”
And Boggs thinks that she understands why Jake made such a strong connection with his new duckling pals. Furthermore, she suspects that it might have something to do with the fact that the pit bull has a condition called cranial mandibular osteopathy. This is a rare and incurable bone condition in the jaw that causes pain, but one that can be managed with medication.
“I believe his condition makes him sympathize and bond with other souls who suffer,” Boggs added to The Dodo. “Another reason, I believe, why he took to the ducklings the way he did.” Whatever the reason, though, Jake obviously loves the ducks – and they seem to love him back.
“If I put all the dogs down on the bed and put the ducks out, they literally go straight to Jake,” Boggs continued. “He’s the one they love.” And to a group of orphans, having a mommy – even a big, furry, male mommy – is an important thing.
“With Jake’s warmth and encouragement – and the stimulation he provides them – it really makes up for what they missed out on at the beginning of their lives,” she explained to The Dodo. Indeed, Jake’s a natural with the ducks, and the birds themselves fit right in with the eclectic rescue family.
“People always ask me how I got five animals to live in the same house and tolerate each other,” Boggs said in her interview with I Pitty The Bull, before she got the ducks. “Then… they ask me how I got five animals to love each other. All I have done is love and showed them what love means.”
“Love is selfless and I feel that’s the hardest things for humans to understand,” Boggs continued. And, thankfully, it doesn’t look like her good work is going to end any time soon. Indeed, as she elaborated to I Pitty The Bull, “I rescue to save souls, which in return saves a part of me I never knew needed saving.”
“When the house is quiet, abnormally quiet, and I find them all cuddled up together in the bed, I know in my heart I have done good in the world,” she concluded. “I have learned more from my pack than any human being. Listen more. Love more. Understand more.”