It was 4 a.m. on Saturday when Jack Jokinen’s wife shook him out of bed. Having a 1-month-old baby, he was used to early morning wake-ups — but he quickly realized this was something very different.
“I was sleeping and my wife all the sudden woke me up, and she said, ‘The baby’s OK … but there’s a puppy in our house,’” Jokinen told The Dodo. “Obviously, I was very confused.”
Jokinen wandered downstairs and immediately spotted what appeared to be a small Lab mix sitting in his living room. With all the doors and windows shut tight against the storm outside, he couldn’t figure out how the dog managed to get in.
“The first thing I think is, ‘There has to be someone in our house,’” Jokinen said. “So I do a security sweep, making sure there’s no one hiding in closets or anything like that. And when I finish, I think, ‘How did this happen? A magical puppy?’”
He checked security footage from the camera by his front door and watched as he returned from taking his 2-year-old dog George out for his last walk the night before. Heading inside, Jokinen appeared to close the door, but it didn’t latch. When the wind kicked up later that night, the front door blew wide open.
“Then at 3:16, on the camera, we can see the dog, we’ve named her Suzy, coming down the street and she stops outside our house,” Jokinen said. “She was out in the rain and cold, and she kind of hesitated and then went into the house.”
About a half-hour later, a passerby walked past the house and noticed the open door as well. He checked to see if everything was OK before closing the door. If it weren’t for that, Jokinen noted, Suzy might never have stayed the night: “He didn’t know there was a dog in the house that wasn’t ours.”
Jokinen and his wife dried off the dog and made her feel comfortable. The next day, they called animal control, but they quickly realized that surrendering her wasn’t the best option for the sick stray: “She was emaciated, teeth all over the place, only walking on three legs with no collar,” Jokinen said. “We thought, ‘If we just drop this dog off, who knows what will happen?’”
So, instead, they brought Suzy to the vet, where they were shocked to learn that the “puppy” who wandered into their house was actually about 9 years old. Suzy was covered in fleas and ticks and had a paw infection — as well as some dental issues. The couple decided to help her.
“We decided that of all the bad things that could happen by leaving your door open in the middle of winter in a major city, to end up with a sweet dog, who has come off the street … We have to at least give this a try,” Jokinen said.
Jokinen tweeted a photo of Suzy and to his surprise, the post went viral. In less than two days, he received $15,000 in donations to help pay for the senior dog’s medical bills.
He also, through the power of social media, found the guy who kindly closed his door that night.
Now, Suzy is safe and warm, and her new family is helping her gain weight. For the first time in a long time, she has a real home.
“We’re able to do all this in a big part thanks to the generosity of the internet,” Jokinen said. “In a way, this isn’t our dog — it’s the internet’s dog.”