In the month of November of the year 2011, a very distraught and emotional lady had brought a dog into Pasco County Animal Services. She said she found him on the streets in Pasco County, Florida. He was missing the vast majority of his hair, eyes swollen shut, and a stench coming from his skin. He had a couple bone deep wounds which more than likely happened from his own itching and digging at himself in hopes of stopping the constant itching. He, too, was very skinny having his hip bones showing and many of his ribs protruding. These were the visual markings of a dog clearly neglected and abandoned.
Eric Emminger, the Founder and President of Pit Bull Happenings Rescue, learned of this dog and his current whereabouts through Facebook. He pondered on how he and his organization could help. PBHR was a very young non-profit organization having just celebrated their one year anniversary the prior month. Money and resources were very limited. Then he decided to take a leap of faith. He called the shelter and informed them he was going to come and pick up this extremely neglected dog and take him into his rescue and taken immediately to the Animal Hospital. There was a problem though. He informed them he's currently at his regular job and there is no way he would be able to arrive before they closed. The shelter staff understood and with great compassion for this dog, unlocked their door to allow Eric in, after hours. The shelter staff had the dog already in their lobby, ready to go. As soon as Eric walked through the door, this dog came running up to him, wagging his very very happy tail, even rubbing his very sticky head up against his legs. The dog would shake his whole body quite frequently causing pieces of his skin and whatever fur he had left to fly everywhere. The spirit of this dog, despite his obvious and clear neglect, and despite him, no doubt, having constant pains and sufferings, was quite amazing. He was a super happy dog. His love was great for all that he has met. He was and is truly a remarkable dog and a true inspiration. Humans would do well to learn from him.
After leaving Pasco County Animal Services with the dog on November 17, 2011... this dog's name came without thought. Jeremiah. The name Jeremiah is the English translation of the Hebrew name Yirmeyahu. The meaning of Jeremiah is YHVH (the Name of God) exalts (raises up).
We then arrived at Pit Bull Happenings Rescue's vet. This is where we learned the extent of his ailments and wounds. Jeremiah was high heartworm positive. He had a thyroid issue which would require medication for life. He had an extreme case of demodex mange. The veterinarian cleaned his bone deep wounds and bandaged them up. We made the decision to keep Jeremiah at the Animal Hospital for almost two weeks due to the severity of his compromised health. Since he came back heartworm positive, we could not do the ivermectin treatment which is commonly used to battle the demodex mange. We treated the demodex with the Mitaban Dip (Amitraz). We could not treat the heartworms until we got the demodex mites under control. Jeremiah's overall immune system was very compromised so we took extra care in re-building and strengthening his immune system. After getting released from the Animal Hospital, he stayed with Eric initially. February of 2012 arrived and Eric decided it was in Jeremiah's best interest to go into an approved and great foster home. Eric had multiple dogs at his house at that time and he wanted Jeremiah to get more attention and focus on behaviors and training to better prepare him for the, at that time, unknown date of when he would be available for adoption. Of course, he still had a long road to full recovery. Lots more of the Mitaban Dips... Still needed heartworm treatment and of course still needed neutered, etc.
From the announcement of Jeremiah's rescue, we were humbled by the great show of support and love of Jeremiah. People from around the world donated and ultimately paid for his extensive and high vet bills. An International following was created. Jeremiah became an inspiration and a hero. He taught countless numbers of people on the lessons of Love and Forgiveness. On being Happy. We and Jeremiah are truly blessed. His supporters were and are most appreciated. Their love was truly remarkable.
His foster mom, Maggie Mathey (President of Jeremiah's Foundation) did a phenomenal job on caring and training Jeremiah. Eric could not have chosen a better foster home for this very much loved and special Jeremiah. Maggie's home is where Jeremiah would continue his medical care as well as preparations for his eventual adoptive home. Maggie invested a lot of time and energy to the care and well-being of Jeremiah. Maggie taught Jeremiah proper dog manners for living in a house. She taught him tricks. She took him out and about which showed him not everybody is wicked. She shown him the incredible power of love and Jeremiah shown the world the incredible power of love. He loved everybody he met. Now as much as Jeremiah loved Maggie, he wasn't too fond of her early morning risings... you see, Jeremiah would prefer to sleep in and have his lazy mornings but he dealt with it like the champ that he was albeit in slow motion. Jeremiah also had a foster sister Kahlua. Now Kahlua was the princess of the house which she knew and she taught Jeremiah that as well. Kahlua and Jeremiah got along great and she helped Jeremiah learn proper dog mannerisms as well. Jeremiah respected Kahlua, after-all she was the princess of the house. This he knew. Kahlua, of course, was a more active and energetic dog than her foster brother Jeremiah which may have played a part in their getting along so well. Maggie's home did wonders for Jeremiah and his transformation!
In November of 2013, we became ecstatic! Jeremiah received a dream adoption application!!! We processed the application and then had a home visit. The potential adopters had previously met Jeremiah when they were out and about at the various events Pit Bull Happenings Rescue were at so they had already fallen in love with Jeremiah. Well, they decided to take the leap in hopes of adding Jeremiah to their family. The adopters, Toni and Tom, have a beautiful family which includes a teenage daughter as well as a family dog named Riley. They have a beautiful home as well. Now after we checked out the humans and their home... we needed to make sure Riley would be okay with having a new brother. The meet and greet went perfect! The adoption approval was granted and the adoption finalized on November 9, 2013. Jeremiah, after a long wait, now had an awesome family... forever.
Besides all of the love Jeremiah's forever home shown him, they taught Jeremiah how to play frisbee among many other fun stuff. They often took hikes through the trails and went out and about to various places that allowed dogs. The love between Jeremiah and his parents and sisters (human and dog) only grew greater at each passing day. Jeremiah was living his dream. He was now complete in life. He was truly living above the world between his great love of his forever family, foster family, a great international following... Jeremiah, truly an inspiration for all and only had love for all.
All was going great... life seemed perfect. Then Jeremiah's family noticed a change in Jeremiah, something just wasn't right. So they took Jeremiah to the Animal Hospital to be checked out. They ran their tests and whatnot... it turns out Jeremiah had developed a very aggressive form of cancer. His family shocked by the news as was Maggie, Eric, and all who knew Jeremiah. We all experienced a shock and awe moment... it's too hard to describe or explain. Jeremiah had come such a long way since first being rescued. This could not be real. It was very real. After extensive tests, evaluations, and discussions with the veterinarian... and most importantly watching Jeremiah, once again, suffer it was decided and in the best interest of Jeremiah to let him go. With his forever family still beside him, he was now at complete peace. No more pains, no more sorrows, no more tears. Well plenty of tears for his adoptive family, foster family, PBHR family, and all of his amazing international following. March 24, 2017... the whole world was overcome with tears for the loss of Jeremiah. He will truly be missed. Forever.