In 2016, Emily Taphouse received the most devastating news of her life: her husband Korey was killed by a hit-and-run driver. Emily and her daughters’ lives were turned upside down, and Emily didn’t know how to fill the holes in all their hearts.
Emily’s daughters, four-year-old Hazel and two-year-old June, struggled in the months after their dad died, and Emily wanted to do something to help them. Emily decided they needed a fresh start, and so they moved to a new house near Grand Rapids, Michigan. But the girls were still struggling, and Emily knew there was something else they needed: a new friend to care for.
And so, Emily decided to adopt a gentle bulldog puppy named Fern. Fern helped the family start to heal.
“It’s like I could feel a patch be placed on my heart,” Taphouse told The Dodo. “I watched as my girls squealed and played and loved on her. She changed everything.”
June and Hazel loved playing with Fern, and Fern adored both of the girls. Fern was also a very sweet pup, and she seemed to understand that June and Hazel were going through a hard time. The dog did her best to cheer the two little girls up.
Fern was a very social dog, and so Emily started taking her to a doggy play group. Emily noticed that Fern was sad whenever they left the group—while Fern loved her human family, she also longed for a doggy companion.
Emily and her daughters decided to adopt another dog. They went to lots of shelters in their area, but they couldn’t find a dog that was the right fit.
Emily went on Facebook one day and saw her friend had tagged her in a post. The post was about a bulldog named Juno who had had a difficult past. Emily went to meet the pup, and it was love at first sight!
“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.”
Emily brought Juno home, and she and Fern quickly bonded. While Fern is very high-energy, Juno is a bit more mellow—the two balance each other perfectly.
Emily and her daughters made sure Juno knew she was in a safe place.
“She had previously been hit when she tried to get on the furniture,” Taphouse said. “I got her home, and we talked her into going on the couch. She looked like she had found a piece of heaven.”
To Emily’s surprise, Juno and her youngest daughter, June, formed an incredible bond.
The little girl and her dog are rarely apart—they love relaxing and watching TV together. Juno also comforts June whenever she feels sad. One day, Emily captured an incredible photo of the two of them sitting on the couch together, Juno’s arm wrapped around June. It’s amazing to see how empathetic Juno is!
Emily struggled immensely in the months after Korey died, but Juno and Fern have helped her heal.
“They are light and healing in the sweetest packages,” Taphouse said.
Fern and Juno are two incredible dogs who helped a family going through one of the hardest times of their life. If you’d like to see more photos of Fern and Juno, check out their Instagram page.
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