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Dog Hugs Dad Who Came Back To The Shelter To Save Him

Lewis Jimenez had to do something difficult four months ago. He had to return his pit bull, Titus, to the shelter from where he had adopted him. But, unlike many people who abandon their pets and never return for them, Jimenez returned for Titus as soon as he could — and he vows never to abandon him again.

Jimenez adopted Titus at the Austin Animal Center, the city’s sole municipal animal shelter, when he was two years old in 2013. He hadn’t intended to have a pit bull, but when he witnessed shelter workers strolling Titus around the yard, he fell in love with him.

CREDIT: SARAH JURGENSEN THROOP

“He was bouncing and cheerful, and I thought, ‘Man, that’s the one I want,’” Jimenez said to 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 huge old baby,” Jimenez described him. “He’s a piece of me.”

But something happened last year that drove them apart. Lewis was informed that he would be unable to retain Titus.

CREDIT: SARAH JURGENSEN THROOP

“The management firm informed him he had to get rid of Titus or he’d be evicted,” Jennifer Olohan, communications and media manager at Austin Animal Center, told The Dodo.

Jimenez didn’t have another place to live, and he didn’t know anybody who could care for Titus while he looked for another, so he had no choice except to return him to the shelter.

The shelter employees weren’t sure if Jimenez would return for Titus at first. “From our perspective, we can’t hold pets because we hear owners claim all the time that they’re going to come back, but then they don’t,” Olohan explained.

CREDIT: SARAH JURGENSEN THROOP

Simultaneously, the shelter workers noticed how difficult it was for Jimenez to give up Titus, even though Jimenez stated that it would only be temporary.

Titus, on the other hand, had a difficult time adapting to the shelter. According to Olohan, he was simply miserable.

“The shelter is a very, very stressful environment for dogs,” Olohan added. “Some dogs cope better than others, but Titus was not one of them.” He was quite tense. He was terrific when you brought him out of his kennel – extremely lively and incredibly lovely. But in his kennel, he was depressed and grumpy.”

CREDIT: SARAH JURGENSEN THROOP

Jimenez and his family paid Titus as many visits as they could, but it was always an emotional experience for everyone involved.

“He’d become stressed and depressed,” Jimenez explained. “The volunteers would jot down things like, ‘Titus isn’t himself.’” It only made me more determined to do whatever it took to get him out.”

The most difficult aspect of each visit was coming to an end. “As they were leaving, the employees would see him in tears,” Olohan explained. “So the entire affair was horrible.”

CREDIT: SARAH JURGENSEN THROOP

Titus was 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 location where they could keep Titus. According to Jimenez, everything worked out for the better because Titus now got a yard to run about in at his new home.

“Everyone was quite emotional,” Olohan added. “Titus was overjoyed, as was Lewis. There were several workers and volunteers present, and everyone was in tears. Some individuals were aware of their narrative and were aware that Lewis was “waiting in the wings for Titus.”

CREDIT: SARAH JURGENSEN THROOP

Their reunion was photographed, and the photographs went viral after the Austin Animal Center published them on its Facebook page. Jimenez is shown embracing Titus, who has a large doggie smile on his face.

“I was completely overwhelmed,” Jimenez said. “I was thinking about a lot of things.”

Jimenez expressed gratitude to the shelter employees and volunteers who spent time with Titus throughout his stay at the shelter, ensuring he received tons of love and care. “They could be doing anything, but by doing that, they soothe the dogs,” Jimenez explained.

CREDIT: SARAH JURGENSEN THROOP

And Titus quickly returned to his life with Jimenez and his family.

“He said Titus is reclining on the sofa, which he isn’t supposed to do, but they’re giving him a break because he’s had a difficult time at the shelter,” Olohan explained. “But they say he’s doing fantastic.” They are overjoyed to have him back.”

“He adores Titus,” Olohan continued. “We can see today that not returning Titus was never an option – he was doing everything he could to ensure Titus’s return.”

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