Lewis Jimenez had to do something quite difficult four months ago. He had to return his pit bull, Titus, to the shelter from whence he had adopted him. But, unlike many people who abandon their pets and never return, Jimenez retrieved Titus as soon as he was able — and he vows to never abandon him again.
When Titus was two years old, Jimenez adopted him from the Austin Animal Center, Austin’s sole municipal animal shelter.
He had no intention of obtaining a pit bull, but he fell in love with Titus when he observed shelter volunteers strolling him around the yard.
Jimenez told The Dodo, “He was bouncing and smiling, and I thought, ‘Man, that’s the one I want.”
Lewis and Titus were inseparable for the next five years, and Lewis couldn’t picture his life without him. Jimenez described him as “like my huge old baby.” “He’s a part of who I am.”
However, something happened last year that drove them apart. Lewis was told that he wouldn’t be able to retain Titus.
“The management firm informed him he had to get rid of Titus or he’d be evicted,” Jennifer Olohan, Austin Animal Center’s communications and media manager, told The Dodo.
Jimenez didn’t have somewhere else to go and didn’t know anybody who could care for Titus while he looked for a new location, so he had no choice but to return him to the shelter.
The shelter employees weren’t sure if Jimenez would return for Titus at first. “From our perspective, we’re not allowed to detain pets because we constantly hear owners claim they’re going to come back, but then they don’t,” Olohan explained.
Simultaneously, the shelter workers observed how difficult it was for Jimenez to relinquish Titus, even though Jimenez said it was only a temporary situation.
Titus, on the other hand, struggled to acclimate to the shelter. According to Olohan, he was in excruciating pain.
“The shelter is a very stressful environment for dogs,” Olohan explained. “Some dogs are better at handling it than others, but Titus was not one of them. He was quite tense. He was excellent when you took him out of his kennel – very lively and gentle. But he was depressed and forlorn in his kennel.”
Jimenez and his family paid Titus as many visits as they could, but it was always an emotional experience for everyone.
“He would become overwhelmed and depressed,” Jimenez added. “The volunteers would jot down things like, ‘Titus isn’t himself,’ and so on. It just strengthened my resolve to do whatever it took to free him.”
The hardest aspect of each visit was coming to an end. “As they were leaving, the employees would see them in tears,” Olohan recalled. “As a result, the entire scenario was sad.”
Titus was at the shelter for four months, but Jimenez never gave up hope of getting him out.
Finally, Jimenez and his family were able to relocate to a new location where they could keep Titus. According to Jimenez, everything worked out for the best because Titus now had a yard to play in.
Olohan said, “Everyone was extremely, really emotional.” “Titus was ecstatic, as did Lewis. Everyone was sobbing, and we had some employees and volunteers there. Some individuals were already aware of their narrative and were aware that Lewis was “waiting in the wings” for Titus.”
Their reunion was filmed by a photographer, and the photographs went viral after the Austin Animal Center published them on Facebook. 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 thanked the shelter employees and volunteers for spending time with Titus throughout his stay at the shelter, ensuring that he received enough of love and care. “They could be doing a lot of things,” Jimenez explained, “but by doing that, they soothe the dogs.”
Titus returned to his life with Jimenez and his family almost immediately.
“He said Titus is reclining on the sofa, even though he’s not meant to,” Olohan added, “but they’re giving him a break because he’s had a difficult time at the shelter.” “However, they say he’s doing fantastic.” They’re overjoyed to see him again.”
“He has a thing for Titus,” Olohan remarked. “Now we realize that not returning from Titus was never an option – he was doing everything he could to make sure Titus was back.”