Jordy the Bulldog poses for the camera

In 2012, Stacey Brill adopted her 7-year-old Bulldog, Jordy, from a breed rescue. The good-natured dog has since passed AKC’s Canine Good Citizen test and earned his therapy certification. But, last November, Brill received devastating news: Jordy has a rare form of bone cancer growing on his skull. Veterinarians gave him a year.

Jordy’s health began to deteriorate, and he stopped playing and eating. But, when Brill brought a Bulldog rescue puppy home to be Jordy’s new companion, the sick dog began perking up. We caught up with Brill to learn more about her dogs.

Q: Can you tell us the story of how you rescued Jordy?

A: Jordy came from Buddies Thru Bullies. I told them I wanted a dog who was sort of chill. When I met him, I immediately fell in love with him. He just has a phenomenal personality. He’s very, very silly.

I’ve had him for more than two years, and he’s now a certified pet therapy dog.

Q: Do you know anything about Jordy’s life before you rescued him?

A: He was turned into Miami-Dade animal shelter twice. He needed eye surgery and the two previous owners never had it done. So, the last time he was turned in, the rescue arranged for his eye surgery. Then, he was in foster care for 18 months until I came looking to adopt another dog.

Q: Can you tell us more about Jordy’s role as a therapy dog?

A: I work as a speech pathologist, specializing in swallowing disorders. My patients have head and neck cancer. Jordy goes to work with me and interacts with the patients. He’s great at reducing anxiety and stress, and he distracts them from the pain they feel during therapy sessions. He visits other therapists’ patients, as well. We also have a few babies who come into the clinic. Having a dog in the room diverts their attention, diminishing their fussing or crying, which allows the therapists to do their work. He absolutely loves going to work. He still has a ton of energy.

Hank the Bulldog puppy sticks out his tongue

Q: You recently adopted another Bulldog puppy. Can you tell us how you rescued him?

A:  Hank came from the same rescue as Jordy. He was surrendered when he was 9 months old and by that point, he’d already had two owners. The original owners bought him at a pet store but decided he didn’t look like a Bulldog and gave him to someone else. The next owners had him for six months, but then said they were moving out of state and weren’t taking him. So, they left him at the rescue. The rescue had him neutered and updated his shots and everything. They thought he’d be a good personality match for Jordy, so I got him.

He’s in perfect health and is going through obedience training because no one did the work with him. So, he’s still very much a puppy. He just turned 1 year old in June. And hopefully, as he matures, he’ll also be able to pass the Canine Good Citizen test and become therapy certified. Last November, Jordy was diagnosed with a very rare form of bone cancer in his skull and he was kind of going downhill. I know that many sick dogs might not respond well to having a new dog in the house with crazy, puppy energy, but in this case, it works. Hank is very playful and has a strong personality and since bringing him home, he’s been Jordy’s savior, basically. Jordy’s energy has improved and he’s back to playing and wrestling.

Q: What are your dogs’ personalities like?

A: They’re both silly, and they’re both mischievous. But they’re both very loving, and when I got them, neither was a cuddler. Obviously, no one had really spent time with them or tried cuddling with them. They’ve both gotten a lot better with that and they like to sleep in bed with me. The new thing now is that Jordy snuggles with me, when before, he never would.

Q: What do you love most about your dogs?

A: You can have a bad workday, but you come home, and they’re so absolutely silly, you have to laugh. You just kind of forget what it was that you were upset about.

With any rescue dog, people think they’re inheriting someone else’s problem, but dogs are turned over to rescues for many reasons, so that’s not always the case. Jordy is a prime example, showing that you can bring an older dog home and train him very well.

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