It was love at first bark for German Shepherd mixes Ben and Jade. After spending their lives on the streets as a bonded pair, Ben and Jade were rescued by staff and volunteers at the Terre Haute Humane Society (THHS) in Terre Haute, Ind.
The canine couple spent four months at THHS, even staying together in the same kennel. Ben and Jade were only separated once for a short time, when Jade was transported to a foster home to deliver their litter of puppies. The pups have since been adopted by loving homes.
But it seemed their epic puppy love would have to come to an end when kind husband and wife Courtney and Jason Lawler arrived at THHS looking for a new pet. They were immediately taken with Ben, but decided that Jade, who was more timid than her partner, might not be the best fit for their family. The Lawlers decided to adopt Ben, and they brought the lovable Shepherd mix to their house, 10 miles away from THSS — and Jade.
Three weeks after Ben went home with the Lawler family, the Shepherd mix decided he could not stand to be away from his love any longer. While one of his owners, Jason, was distracted taking out the trash, Ben seized the opportunity and bolted from the house. All Jason could do was yell after Ben as the 70-pound dog sprinted down the road.
Courtney and Jason searched everywhere for Ben, but stuck primarily to the neighborhoods near their house. They could have never imagined that Ben, determined to reunite with Jade, had trudged through the cold, over railroad tracks and across dangerous roads, returned to the THHS shelter on his own, in search of his girlfriend. When the Lawlers received a call from the shelter, they couldn’t believe Ben had traveled so far.
“It was amazing,” Courtney Lawler tells TODAY.com. “I was really shocked because we thought he was still in our area when he got away, and he walked 10 miles away from us.”
“We knew that they had been caught together [by the Humane Shelter] and that they stayed together [before Ben was adopted],” she added of Ben and Jade, “but we didn’t realize how strong of a bond they had.”
When Courtney and Jason drove to THHS to retrieve Ben, they took him to visit Jade. Knowing Ben and Jade could not live apart from one another, the Lawlers made the best decision for everyone — they adopted Jade, too.
“We think that since [Ben] did this, he won’t be happy unless he has her and will keep looking for a way to get loose and come back to her,” says Courtney. “We thought, ‘If this is going to keep happening, we can’t leave without her.’ Everything’s been pretty good since we brought them both home.”
While the pair was initially pretty skittish around people, Ben and Jade are starting to come out of their shells at the Lawler’s home, bonding closely with the Lawler’s 3-year-old son, Peyton.
“They’ve been pretty confident around our son,” Courtney explains. “He’s been doing very well around them after we taught him at first to let them know they can roam around the house, and hopefully they will continue to open up.”
Ben and Jade are as inseparable as ever at their new home. Ben enjoys hiding under the bed, the Lawlers say, and Jade lies on a mat right next to him. THHS staff is thrilled the canine couple will never have to be apart again.
“[Ben and Jade] want to be together,” THHS Board President Debbie Floyd told the TribStar.com. “There hasn’t been a lot of human love in their lives. They found love with each other and that’s what makes them happy.”
“Hopefully, they will live their lives happily ever after,” Floyd added.