Lisa Rutter had no idea her beach trip with senior dog Jessie would be their last, but it was a much-needed break for an old dog from home. With two younger and energetic canine siblings back at home, this was a moment to revel in calm and company—and for two friends to share the simple pleasures. They also had no idea their photos from the trip would take the web by storm.
Rutter lifted sweet old Jessie into their van and then out when they arrived at the ocean. Jessie was still a spirited pup, despite going a little lame. She was also nearly blind and completely deaf.
Jessie didn’t need to hear words from anyone she met that day; the little pats and smiles were enough.
On a blanket in the sand, the owner and senior pup enjoyed the warm August evening in 2015.
As she was sniffing away at all those lovely smells she hadn’t smelt in a while[,] I reached my hand into my pocket. Although her sight was bad i think she always sensed a treat was coming! She started to run towards me and so i took out my phone and snapped her in action[.]
It was the above photo of pure freedom and joy that won Off The Leash‘s “Best Old Dog Photo Competition” with over 10,000 likes on Facebook.
“Running is something I hadn’t seen in a long time from her,” Rutter tells Mirror. It was a beautiful moment for everyone, and Jessie’s thousands of overnight fans couldn’t help but blow everyone away:
The response was overwhelming people loved the picture and could see how amazing Jessie was[.] [S]ince then she has been in many british [sic] newspapers and she is an internet sensation[.]
When Jessie’s photo won the contest nearly five months after her trip, it was bittersweet. She had begun to refuse food and water a month after that happy day, and her family made the most difficult decision pet owners ever have to make in September. Jessie received a lot of love in her fifteen years, and Rutter just knew she was ready.
Her ashes are now scattered in her favorite place in the world, the Lake District in the United Kingdom.
But before Jessie made everyone grin with her frosty-muzzled smile on Redcar Beach, she was doing the same for her humans every single day. From eight weeks old she caused all kinds of trouble:
Jessie was an amazing girl […] quite naughty from the beginning and got me into lots of trouble mainly by stealing food[,] she was very greedy you see!
She was also the inspiration for Rutter’s pet sitting business and might just be responsible for her relationship with her now-civil partner Jen, as the two met while Jessie was out for a walk.
“She taught me how to love,” Rutter says. And what more could you ask of your very best friend?
Good girl, Jessie. You will be missed by thousands.
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