After receiving an American bulldog from his mother in 2008, John Russo was deployed to Afghanistan in 2009. Unsure of what to do with his dog, Bones, Russo asked his ex-girlfriend to care for her while he was gone.
“We were broken up before I left, but she was taking care of her [Bones], so I thought,” Russo told ABC News. “Then I got home and realized she had surrendered her.”
Actually, surrendering Bones was the ex’s second option as she first tried to have the bulldog euthanized. Fortunately, the veterinarian would not allow this and told her to bring the dog to a shelter to give her a chance of getting adopted. And that is how Bones ended up at the Flagler Humane Society in Palm Coast, Fl.
“She was really depressed when she got here. She actually lived in my office and not in the kennel and we took care of her and got her rehabilitated,”Flagler Humane Society development coordinator Jeffrey Ritter told the outlet. “You could tell she had been really loved because she was one of the most well-behaved dogs. I’ve never heard her bark and she was completely housebroken and could sit and shake on command.”
Russo wasn’t going to let this amazing dog go. After checking the local shelter sites in hopes of seeing Bones, he finally spotted her and drove down to the shelter. Working as a customer-service representative at the shelter, Katrina Geigley witnessed the reunion.
“It was very heartwarming. When they brought her out to see him he just knelt to the floor and we were all just bawling our eyes out. We’ve never seen this dog be so ecstatic to see someone,” Geigley told ABC News. “She ran and gave him this huge bear hug and was whining and jumping all around. If my job has ever been worth it, it was in that moment.”
While Russo is now a firefighter, the pair is making up for lost time.
“It’s been insane,” Russo tells the outlet. “I come home every day from work and she somehow manages to get in my laundry basket and steal my shirts and every time I come home it’s like the first time she saw me again.”