He promised him he’d come back and they’d never break up… HE ACCOMPLISHED IT
Lewis Jimenez had to do something difficult four months ago. He had to bring his pit bull, Titus, back to the shelter from whence he had adopted him. But, unlike many people who abandon their pets and never come back for them, Jimenez returned for Titus as soon as he could — and he’s determined never to part with him again.
Titus was two years old when Jimenez got him from the Austin Animal Centre, Austin’s only municipal animal shelter. He hadn’t intended to have a pit bull, but when he saw shelter volunteers walking Titus around the yard, he was smitten.
“He was jumping around and happy, and I thought, ‘Man, that’s the one I want,’” Jimenez told The Dodo.
Lewis and Titus were inseparable for the next five years, and Lewis couldn’t fathom his life without Titus. “He’s like my big old kid,” Jimenez described him. “He’s part of me.”
But something happened last year that drove them apart. Lewis was told he wouldn’t be able to keep Titus.
“The management company told him that if he didn’t get rid of Titus, he’d be evicted,” Jennifer Olohan, communications and media manager at Austin Animal Centre, told The Dodo.
Jimenez didn’t have another place to live, and he didn’t know anyone who could care for Titus while he looked for another, so he had no choice but to bring him back to the shelter.
The shelter staff were unsure whether Jimenez would come back for Titus. “From our point of view, we’re not able to hold dogs, because we hear owners say this all the time — that they’re going to come back, but then they don’t,” said Olohan.
Simultaneously, the shelter staff witnessed Jimenez’s struggle to relinquish Titus, even though Jimenez stated that it would be temporary.
Titus, on the other hand, had a difficult time adjusting to the shelter. According to Olohan, he was plain miserable.
“The shelter is a really, really stressful place for dogs,” Olohan told the newspaper. “Some dogs cope better than others, but Titus was not one of them.” He was extremely stressed. He was terrific when you brought him out of his kennel – extremely playful and really lovely. But in his kennel, he was glum and forlorn.”
Jimenez and his family paid Titus as many visits as they could, but it was always an emotional experience for everyone involved.
“He would become overwhelmed and very sad,” Jimenez explained. “The volunteers would jot down things like, ‘Titus is not himself.’” It only made me more determined to do whatever it took to get him out.”
The hardest aspect of each visit was coming to an end. “The staff would see them in tears as they were leaving,” Olohan told reporters. “So the whole situation was just heartbreaking.”
Titus stayed at the shelter for four months, but Jimenez never gave up trying to get him out.
Finally, Jimenez and his family were able to relocate to a place where they could keep Titus. According to Jimenez, everything worked out for the best because Titus now had a garden to go around in at his new place.
“Everyone was really, really emotional,” Olohan remarked. “Titus was overjoyed, as was Lewis. There were some staff and volunteers present, and everyone was in tears. Some people were aware of their narrative and were aware that Lewis was waiting in the wings for Titus.”
Their reunion was photographed, and the photographs went viral after the Austin Animal Centre shared them on its Facebook page. Jimenez is shown embracing Titus, who has a large doggy smile on his face.
“I was completely overwhelmed,” Jimenez admitted. “A lot of things were going through my head.”
Jimenez thanked the shelter staff and volunteers for spending time with Titus and making sure he had lots of love and care during his stay at the shelter. “They could be doing a lot of things, but by them doing that, they comfort the dogs,” Jimenez went on to say.
And Titus went right back to his life with Jimenez and his family.
“He said that Titus is lounging on the couch, even though he’s not supposed to, but they’re giving him a break since he’s had a rough go at the shelter,” he said. “But they said he’s doing fantastic.” They are ecstatic to have him back.”
“He loves Titus,” Olohan added. “We can see now that not coming back from Titus was never an option — he was doing everything he could to make sure that he got Titus back.”