Rescued pit bull now spends his days helping dogs feel happier and more comfortable.
Jasper was found wandering the streets when he was only a year old. Though the details of his beginnings are unknown, it is speculated that he suffered some sort of trauma. He arrived at Austin Pets Alive (APA) covered in mange, underweight, and riddled with anxiety.
People believed that once he was adopted, his anxiety would lessen. But it didn’t, and he was returned twice before being adopted by his current owner, Tom Paradis. When Tom adopted him, he also observed that Jasper’s anxiety remained.
Tom’s girlfriend, Rachel, reports that Jasper was afraid of people, going outside for walks, and riding in cars, among many other things.
Tom thought that perhaps Jasper might be more at ease if he had a canine companion to relate to. So he went back to APA in search of a foster dog. And he was introduced to Ernie.
Ernie was a pit bull puppy, only a few months old at the time. He had been saved by APA from a high-kill shelter, where he had been with his mom, dad, and siblings. Sadly, Ernie’s dad had already been euthanized by the time Ernie and his family were pulled.
Ernie was an immediate burst of happy energy to Tom’s home. He was gleeful, full of life, and lovable. The family quickly foster failed (meaning they adopted him), and the family happily welcomed him into their lives.
Everyone, that is, except Jasper. Jasper was not immediately a fan of Ernie, but Tom and Rachel knew he just needed a little more time. They knew that Ernie, being Jasper’s “polar opposite,” might help Jasper eventually come out of his shell and feel happy and comfortable in the world, instead of frightened by it.
After some time passed, it turns out they were right. Having a companion around who is confident and fearless is just what he needs to feel more at east. Ernie has helped Jasper learn how to play, relax, explore, and enjoy life.
Rachel reports that the pair is inseparable. She says that Jasper can still be a frightened of things, but that he is much more confident now that Ernie is around.
Jasper, now 6 years old, now does things his parents never imagined he’d be doing; he goes to parks, swims, and makes new doggy friends. As long as Ernie is nearby, Jasper knows no limits.
Because fostering produced such happiness for the dogs, Tom and Rachel have continued fostering. While Jasper is pretty indifferent to the dogs who come through, Ernie is elated.
Tom and Rachel report that Ernie’s purpose in life seems to be comforting and mentoring other dogs in need. He plays with and cares for every dog that his parents take in, and is very gentle and patient with the puppies.
Tom also says that Ernie is a referee of sorts; whenever there is conflict between dogs in his home or at the park, Ernie will rush over to keep the peace and make sure everything is okay.
This lovely family has fostered and found homes for 10 dogs do far, and they plan to take on more fosters soon.
Hopefully, Ernie serves as an ambassador to his breed, a breed which is misunderstood and unfairly treated. Pit bulls are oftentimes selfless and loving dogs who would do anything to please their owners.
Ernie serves as an example of that selflessness. He spends his days not only loving his humans, but helping other dogs feel more at ease in a world which is not always fair to dogs. He has changed Jasper’s life for the better, and has helped more than 10 dogs find permanent happiness.
Ernie is spending his life in service to the greater good. Humans could stand to learn a lot from an amazing dog like Ernie.
You can follow Ernie, Jasper, and any of their current foster pals on their Instagram.