Dying Shelter Dog Is Adopted to Give Her "24 Hours of Love" But It Turned into More

Posted by Amber King
Photos by Heather Hayes via The Dodo

One night of love turned into four years of adventure.

Heather Hayes was the marketing manager at the Asheville Humane Society in North Carolina. Every day she walked past an ailing Chihuahua's kennel, and every day the dog was cowering under her bed. The old dog was sick and scared, and the shelter eventually determined she didn't have much chance at adoption.


Around the time a decision was made about the rescue dog's fate, Heather passed the kennel like every other day. But this time, the senior dog was sitting up and looking right at her. Entranced by the little dog's stare, Heather made a decision of her own. She told The Dodo:

"The staff at the shelter wondered if she was even adoptable because her health was so bad. I said, 'Let me take her home for a night and if we decide she doesn't have a quality of life and we have to let her go, I want her to be at a home. At least she'll feel loved for 24 hours."

So the rescue dog named Jersey Girl finally went home.

The dog that spent days cowering at the shelter got a warm bed next to Heather and her husband. But instead of shutting down as Heather expected, that little bit of love gave new life to the dying dog. When her 24 hours were up, she was still there.

Heather and her husband fell in love and quickly realized the dog no one wanted was going to be a permanent part of their lives. Since they wanted her to stick around, they gave her a new name for her new life. They tried out Josie and Jazzy, but when Heather's husband suggested Jay-Z, the little dog's head perked up in response.

two dogs sitting on camping chairs

Once they settled on a name, it was time to show Jay-Z what she was missing. They went camping, backpacking, sailing, and more. She saw the ocean and went on picnics. The Chihuahua that wouldn't come out from under her bed saw the world, and she didn't let her age get in the way.

four dogs and a cat sitting on a couch

Jay-Z was the first rescue dog Heather adopted, but she wasn't the last. The aging dog with the tongue that refused to stay in her mouth inspired the couple to keep on adopting. Heather said;

"After we adopted her [Jay-Z], we took four more senior and special-needs dogs. And now, Jay-Z has her pack of rescue senior Chihuahuas."

Heather never expected those first 24 hours to turn into a long-term commitment to rescue animals. Four years later, Jay-Z is still leading her pack. She's old, but Heather says she "has an incredible will to live."

What do you think of Jay-Z's story? Let us know in the comments.

Photos by Heather Hayes via The Dodo

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Dying Shelter Dog Is Adopted to Give Her "24 Hours of Love" But It Turned into More