I know you have not been with us for long, but you have embedded yourself into our hearts, Jill. I can only imagine all of the lovely things you have experienced in your sixteen years as your previous owner was an avid traveler. You came to our family late last year, just in time for Christmas. 

Your previous owner, Martin, loved you dearly. He was a family friend of ours so you and our family were already acquainted. I remember asking him one day as you both sat on our front porch “How long have you had Jill?” Martin responded with “Since she was 6 weeks old.” My heart melted. He said it with such pride and confidence, you were his sweet, sweet baby. 

Shortly after this conversation between Martin and me, he passed away. In the days leading up to his death, I remember telling my husband “Jill needs us.” Martin did not have any family and you were faced with the option of going to the shelter. There was no way though that I’d let that happen. So I went to your house and brought you and your blanket home. 

You seemed a little confused at first, but deep down I knew you were mourning his death. I’m sure you could smell the changes his body was undergoing long before any of us knew. You knew it was coming, but it still broke your heart. 

After about two days you settled right into your new house equipped with three more doggies and three children who were so excited for you. Martin always warned us though saying, “I’m too sure how well she does around little children.” Jill, you have proved him so wrong. You are one of the most patient dogs I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. 

You quickly found your favorite spot to lay down… right in front of the Christmas tree. It was almost like your way of telling us that you were the gift. That’s how I’ve interpreted it anyway. 

You, Jill, are the dog we didn’t know we needed. 

I remember telling my children that you may not be with us for long because of your age and your own deteriorating health. But here you are, almost a year later and still going strong. You love coming out in the evenings and feeding the horses with us and going on long walks with the girls and I. 

You now go by a few different names such as Jilly Bean and Jilly Beanie Weenie. These are just nicknames the kids have given to you and you seem to enjoy them. 

As you lay on our wood floors resting your own tired body and watching our kids playing, I sit here and I watch you. 

You are the dog we didn’t know we needed. 

You oversee all that goes on in the house. You are the referee when the puppy gets out of hand, the steady back for our baby as she learns to take her first steps, the comforter for our toddler

as she lays down to take a nap and you snuggle close, and the quiet place for our twelve-year-old after a busy day at school. 

You are the dog we didn’t know we needed. 

There are times where your head perks up and you get so excited over… nothing that I can see. And in those moments I like to think that you see Martin. That he’s visiting you and watching over you. 

My husband always says, “I wish Martin could see how well she’s doing.” And I reply with a soft “He already knows.” 

I’m sure when your time comes you’ll be reunited with him, but please don’t forget us. You’ve made such an impact on our family. 

We will forever love you, Jilly Bean, because you are the dog we didn’t know we needed.


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Emily Griffin

Emily Griffin is a mama to three stunning daughters, a wife to her hunky husband, an experienced equestrian, and an Arizona native. She is also a certified doula and owner and founder of Unbridled Mama Doula Services. She resides in a very small town in Southeastern, Arizona. Her days consist of raising children, everything equine, reading/ writing, and balancing the fine line between motherhood and insanity. She appreciates nature, the smell of a satisfying rain, and the lovely sunsets the Arizona deserts have to offer. Her life is unbridled in every sense of the word and she wouldn't have it any other way! Follow her on Instagram at @unbridledmama.