Jesse was a miracle both in how he overcame the roughest of starts to his life and to me. In 2007 my wife and I had at the time just began a long distance relationship. One Saturday night as she was visiting me in Atlanta, I was casually looking at rescue dogs on a popular website. When I passed Jesse’s picture she said “stop! That’s our boy! You HAVE to go get him!” He was a 6 month old, emaciated street puppy who had just been hit by a car. He had a broken leg and deep lacerations down his back from the pavement. That next week, I walked into animal services and asked to see him. A few minutes later a small, weak puppy limped out from the doorway and over to me. He didn’t bark or make a sound- he just slowly wagged his tail as he pressed his forehead gently on my shin. I bent down to stroke his little head and knew my life would never be the same.

We instantly became best friends for life. For the next 16 years we were inseparable. We eventually moved from Atlanta, to Nashville, and finally Knoxville, Tennessee. Jesse had 3 acres of fenced land, flowers to smell, squirrels to chase, and snow every winter to play in. The Atlanta street dog had the most idyllic life imaginable any animal could ever imagine. He never forgot where he came from; he carried the physical scars from being hit by that car his entire life. But through his gaze he would tell me daily how much he appreciated and loved me for the life he was given.

Jesse finally lost the battle for his precious life on this earth to chronic kidney disease on February 9, 2023. His life changed my life in so many ways that it is truly unquantifiable. As I looked into his big brown eyes and felt his heart take its last beat, I was committed to preserving some portion of his story for posterity. We were able to successfully preserve Jesse’s genetic profile so that maybe, with luck and grace, a portion of Jesse’s amazing life will brighten the day of some tomorrow.

—Matthew and Chris Poteet