Rescue dog heals bereaved toddler’s heart Rescue dog heals toddler’s heart

The chemistry between a girl and her dog – in this case a rescue dog – is a strange and beautiful thing. For June Taphouse, who was just two when her father was struck and killed by a hit-and-run motorist, that chemistry has resulted in a special kind of medicine. The medicine of love.

Taphouse, of Grand Rapids, Michigan, has found more than a namesake with Juno, the bulldog with a past. June and Juno became instant soulmates, despite Taphouse’s existing relationship with another bully: a white and brown puppie named Fern, who joined the family immediately following their tragic bereavement.

Rescue me from the demons in my mind

It was Juno’s mother, Emily Taphouse, who had the idea of introducing a dog to the family following the death of husband, Korey.

“I watched as my girls squealed and played and loved on her,” Taphouse senior told The Dodo. “She changed everything.”

This first dog, Fern, was a different kind of rescue dog – a dog with a mission to rescue the girls’ hearts. June Taphouse and her sister, Hazel, who was four at the time of the bereavement, immediately found comfort in the goodheartedness and snugly nature of young Fern.

“It’s like I could feel a patch be placed on my heart,” says Emily Taphouse.

But while Fern instantly lifted the spirits of the Taphouse household, the adjustment period was not without its struggles. Fern provided emotional respite for her new family, but in private she battled with her own feelings of loneliness. The search went out for a companion – and the answer came via Facebook.

Connecting dogs on social media

Juno was a 74-pound rescue dog who had been hit every time she’d sought the everyday comfort of an armchair or sofa.

Having been liberated from her hell-home, her foster owner put out the call for permanent lodgings on Facebook – and the Taphouse family responded.

“[It was] love at first sight,” according to Emily Taphouse.

Juno and Fern were happy to find each other. But the surprise connection has been that between Juno and young June Taphouse. They have become inseparable. Finally, Taphouse has discovered the cure for her aching heart. And her mother has found the strength to move on, too.

“Therapy, medication, all of it just didn’t seem enough to get me through this,” says Taphouse senior. “I can say with 100 percent honesty that the combination of these dogs and Hazel and June have done more for me than any medical professional has.”

Written by G. John Cole. Originally published on

Rescue dog heals bereaved toddler’s heart

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