One busy morning of November 2016, a dreadful accident left Emily Taphouse by herself when Korey, her husband, became a victim of an irresponsible driver. The tragedy created a hole in the widower and her daughters’ lives that seemed impossible to fill. Then came the two bulldogs that played the most significant role in healing the family’s broken hearts.

That sorrowful day, Taphouse’s life, as well as her daughters’, Hazel who was 4 and June who was 2 at that time, was overturned. Grief surrounded them. Hazel, particularly, had the most difficult time because of the loss and confusion.

“Telling her she won’t be able to see her dad again, that he died, was worse than the accident itself,” said Taphouse. “I don’t know how to make a 2–year–old understand. I don’t think anyone can.”

In order to start fresh, Taphouse sold their house and moved to Grand Rapids in Michigan. And they also decided to welcome a new addition to their family. Fern, a bulldog puppy with white and patches of brown fur, was added into their family.

In no time, the siblings warmed up to Fern. And as Taphouse witnessed how Fern positively impacts her daughters, she herself started to heal. Yet, Fern was observed to feel sad whenever playtime at the dog park was over. So Taphouse made a call to increase their little pack the second time around. But the search was more challenging than was anticipated.

Most of the shelter dogs they find don’t do well with young children or kitties while others were too old. But just as when Taphouse was about to give up, Juno came. A Facebook post where Taphouse was tagged detailed the foster dog’s difficult past. She then realized that the huge bulldog was the one to complete and put the pieces together.

On their first encounter, the 74–pound dog laid her body on the 30–pound toddler. “Clearly, theirs was a case of love at first sight,” said Taphouse.

The girls made sure Juno felt safe with them. June, especially, created a very special bond with Juno. They do things together and are simply inseparable. June even tucks Juno to bed every night.

Photo Credits to Emily Taphouse via The Dodo

Seeing her girls play and laugh with the bullies gave Taphouse the strength she needed. The joy that they have helped to mend Taphouse’s broken heart. And two years after they lost Korey, the Taphouse family has improved and expanded.

“Hazel, June, Fern, and Juno, they are the sweetest packages of healing.”

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