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 In Memory of  Nova

March 2, 2024

Dear Save A Dog,

It's hard to summarize what Nova Louise Lady Angeline Brooks meant to us. Formerly known as Jade, we gave her the name Nova to signify her "new" start after suffering unfathomable treatment ( When Nova joined our family on 12/8/2018 at about 3.5 years old, none of us fully grasped the extent of the journey we were about to embark on. We knew she was absolutely beautiful, had the saddest eyes and sweetest disposition, and that she would be the perfect companion for our children. What we didn't know is just how much her previous trauma would impact every facet of her being. Our experience with non-rescue puppies wasn't going to cut it, and thanks to loads of reading, more trial and error than we'd like to admit, and Alison Kaiser's "Balanced Pack" training methodology, we learned that Nova essentially needed to see that we would be in charge so that she could relax and be a dog. Simple enough.

Except that Nova didn’t make it simple at first, and we all had to work daily to find and maintain our groove. Fortunately, the labor of love was mutually rewarding at every turn. Nova always gave her humans world-class snuggles, had a knack for detecting who in the household needed a little extra TLC, and served as the family barometer for when things were getting too hectic – especially with little Jamaal, whom she couldn’t quite figure out initially. In return, our oversized baby got the royal treatment: home-cooked, Crock-Pot style meals and the comfiest seats in the house. Our Anabel was never happier than when she got to share her bed with her four-legged best friend.

The ultimate destroyer of dog beds and children’s toys, Nova's incessant need to chew knew no bounds. Her food scarcity issues ran deep, and she immediately started asking for her next meal the second she finished her last. "But Nova, you just ate!" was routinely muttered in our house. Crumbs from the kids' plates never hit the floor, and any item left on the kitchen counter would be short-lived. Rotisserie chickens didn't stand a chance. Nova, the special arrangement you had with baby Kiki was perfection; Kiki hooked you up with scraps from her highchair and, in return, you gave her all the warm, wet kisses a gal could ever want. 

There was a distinct difference between Inside Nova and Outside Nova. Inside the house, her priority was making sure her people were properly cared for. If someone wasn't feeling well, providing a comforting presence was her sole priority. If someone was getting out of hand, she announced that it was time to settle down. No one ever experienced sickness or sadness alone. Her show of support typically involved laying her big ol' block head and "extra smoosh" jowls on our laps. If everything was good with her people, Nova took endless sun baths by the window and periodically rolled over so we knew it was time to rub her belly. She physically melted into her deep tissue massages from Dad, gratefully soaking up every second. Though she was never one to slack on her responsibilities around the house, the blissful look on her face during those special moments said, “Please don’t talk to me. I’m busy.” 

Outside Nova was a different creature entirely. Her survival instincts took center stage, and it was obvious she felt she had to fend for herself. We quickly learned that, though she had a gentle soul and would never harm a person, we were going to have to hold on tight if we weren't in the mood for being dragged around on a hunting expedition. (You still owe JJ an apology, by the way.) It took time, some skinned-up, grass-stained knees, and a couple tough encounters with the neighbors, but we figured out how to confidently walk our very strong girl. Eventually, Nova let us know she felt safe enough to just be a dog (for the most part) when we were out and about. Rolling around in the grass, belly up, tongue hanging out to the side - my girl was finally getting the hang of this whole just-being-a-happy-pet thing. Nova, our long walks together in the past few years will forever be some of my most treasured memories. 

Unfortunately, the harm of Nova’s early years caught up to her far too soon. Though she was always plagued with various allergies and digestive issues, her health declined rapidly a few months after her 8th birthday. Despite our best efforts to slow the progression of her symptoms after a devastating lymphoma diagnosis, Nova was ready for some well-deserved rest on 2/19/2024. Nova, admitting it was time to let you go was the hardest thing we've had to do, and as Leila said over and over in your final moments, "You didn't deserve this." We hope you felt all the love we wrapped around you in those last heart-wrenching days. We also pray that we helped you see that your abusers were wrong and that your life had profound value. It has been truly awe-inspiring to witness your enduring gentle nature after surviving such cruelty in the past.

Nova girl, thank you for all the love, patience, and healing you bestowed upon this family and for teaching us innumerable lessons on how to be better. You left behind permanent marks throughout our house (!) but - more importantly - on our hearts. Please keep sending us signs that you are up in Heaven watching over us and waiting for our next family walk. In the words of the song we know was written just for you, "You're the best thing [we] never knew [we] needed," and we will always remember you with fondness and deep gratitude. 


All our love,

Your Mama and the Brooks family



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