It’s been two years since Heidi Schermerhorn-Wagner first met the dog behind the steel fence.
The dog, named Jade, lived at a property in Belton, South Carolina. If you could call it living.
Schermerhorn-Wagner, who founded Boxer Butts & Other Mutts, came across the dog while she was traveling in the area.
Jade was mired in a mud pit of a yard, strewn with garbage with a pail of water that was always toppled over and empty.
“I walk to the backyard and see this amazing … girl that is so so happy to have human contact and she is full of kisses and tail wags,” she recounts in a Facebook post.
Whenever someone came, Jade would always offer a resounding welcome, her tail wagging, offering kisses through the fence.
Schermerhorn-Wagner begged the family that owned her to release the dog to her care.
But the family always refused, telling her she would never get Jade.
“Yes of course I wanted her then, and I had tears in my eyes when we got in the car because she watched us walk away like, ‘Where is everybody going?'” Schermerhorn-Wagner notes.
Those tears followed Schermerhorn-Wagner home, where she was haunted nightly by the vision of a half-starved dog begging for a life from behind a fence.
“There was not a night that went by that I did not think about her and I cried many tears,” she writes.
She even put up a picture of Jade in her rescue office, “and every day I thought, one day Jade, I pray that I can help you.”
Then, one day, Schermerhorn-Wagner got a message from the Anderson County shelter in South Carolina.
Call them right away.
“I swear I could not quit crying, I thought, ‘Please God let this be her time to finally get the help she needs,'” she notes.
Jade had been surrendered to the shelter. Would Schermerhorn-Wagner like to pick her up?
Would she ever.
“Almost two years I have begged and pleaded trying to help this dog only to be told I would never have this dog because it was THEIR dog,” she writes. “Well, guess what assholes: She is MY dog now and she will never ever want for anything ever again.”
Today, no fence will come between Jade and Schermerhorn-Wagner. Only, sadly, the medical issues that went untreated for so long.
She has coughing fits when she plays too long. Her ears are sensitive from severe bug bites. She has heartworm.
And there are a few lingering demons from her brutal past.
“It is very apparent she has been hit in the face as she cowers when you go to pet her,” Schermerhorn-Wagner explains. “If you try to pick her up she cowers to the ground and shakes. But slowly, she is learning she is never going to be hit or kicked again or whatever they did to her.”
But love can do a lot for a soul. Even exorcise demons.
“Every day I see her coming out of her shell more and more and literally she tries to jump up in my arms and loves for me to hold her like a baby,” she writes.
And Jade still has a way of bringing Schermerhorn-Wagner to tears – the best kind:
“I can’t even put into words how happy my heart is to have this girl in my care, there just are no words right now but a lot of happy tears.”
Jade’s arrival comes at a bittersweet time for Schermerhorn-Wagner. She lost her best friend this week, a dog she rescued named Anna – and the dog who inspired her to found the rescue.
“I can’t help but feel Anna played a part in this,” she tells The Dodo. “Jade has licked away my tears since last night.”