Jack And Louis – Our Forever Family

January 21, 2022

As part of our celebrations for national Change A Pet’s Life Day, members of the team here at Southfields are sharing their experiences of adopting pets.

Here, patient care assistant Jo Cope tells of the story behind how Jack and Louis became members of her family. Take it away, Jo!

“I followed Takis Shelter for many years on Facebook. I would tell people about this man in Greece who gave up everything for dogs. He was my inspiration!

“Last summer, just before we left for a holiday in Greece, I realised the shelter was on the same island we were visiting.

“While disembarking the plane in Crete, I booked to visit the shelter. I had no idea at that moment my life would change forever!

“The plan was that we were only ever visiting – I had no intention to adopt. I also had no idea that I would do so many four-hour drives across the island to the shelter that week and that we would return in a few weeks’ time to collect our boys!

“It’s fair to say I had no clue of how my entire life would change that week…


“As we approached the shelter, dogs came from everywhere to greet us. They were so happy and so excited to see us, jumping up to give us cuddles, rolling over for belly rubs.

“We entered the main enclosure and around 50 dogs were there, many coming up to greet us for love. It was there we meet Louis.

“Invisible to many visitors, he was an older boy, a little shy, black with a scarred face. He was an ex-hunting dog, often thrown away when either old or bad at their ‘job’, he had had most of his ears and tail cut off – something which is often just done by hunters with no sedation or pain medication.

“He was one of those dogs who typically spend the longest in shelters, many like him never finding their forever family. My daughter instantly fell in love with him. We learnt he had been abandoned, tied up to a tree with a chain and a huge bell around his neck in the middle of nowhere. After his rescue, he had spent more than four years in the shelter.

“It was then I started to realise that this visit might be more. We returned over the following days and got to know Louis more and took him out for walks, which was his first experience walking on a lead.

“The logistics of getting him back were difficult, so we returned home and I planned to return to collect him. It was then I learnt of Jack…

“Jack had been abandoned. He was a four-hour drive from where his microchip was registered and near to where we were staying. We don’t know if he had made his way across the island alone or had been driven out and dumped.

“He was then hit by a car, causing devastating injuries to his spine. When most would have given up, the shelter saw his life as valuable and knew he deserved more. The damage was bad and he made the journey by ferry to Athens for major surgery.


“Jack returned to the shelter but never regained the use of his back legs and remained paralysed. He used wheels for his walks and dragged himself around while indoors.

“You could say it was love at first sight. I just knew he was meant to be with us. I asked about his care and what he would need and we spent some weeks changing our home around to accommodate the boys.  Then, three weeks later, we returned to Crete. Due to legalities, we had to drive to Paris and fly from there.

“The first time I met Jack, there was an instant connection. After spending a few days with him we took both the boys back to the accommodation we were staying in. It was scary but so exciting.

“After a flight back to Paris, then driving back to Essex, we were home. The boys were finally home, and would never know another day of pain and fear.

“They settled into family life extremely quickly. Jack needs his bladder expressing a few times a day and has many toileting accidents as has no control over his bowel but, other than that, he is the happiest, most rewarding little guy I’ve ever met.

“Both Louis and Jack would have found it difficult to find a home. Jack especially requires a lot of care and patience but I do it with love. Life is so much better with them here and I can’t imagine life without them. I can’t understand how Louis had spent so long at the shelter, he went back to being like a puppy, rolling around, learning to play, jumping around and having the zoomies in my house.

“Jack is an old boy and at the grand age of 13 he has been through so much and been dealt a hard life but I dedicate everything to making sure he enjoys what time is left. We don’t know how long we have but we will make each and every day special.

“I would encourage anyone who has considered adopting a dog who is overlooked in a shelter, those needing additional care or those needing more time, to do it.

“They are so deserving. It’s been one of the best experiences of my life and I wake up every day so happy they are here. Jack won’t be the last severely disabled dog in this house. I am constantly on the lookout for others needing a home. Although I gave them a home, what they gave me is so much more. I often say I didn’t rescue them, they rescued me.”