When a 4 month old puppy was found wandering as a stray in Kentucky, rescuers had to act fast.
She was clearly very afraid and hesitant to accept help.
Keep reading to find out what happened to this cute little pup!
A Helping Hand
One day, rescuers in Kentucky happened upon a small, 5 month old stray puppy.
While she was clearly very wary of humans, they were able to scoop her up and bring her to safety fairly easily.
They then made arrangements for her to enter the care of a rescue.
Before she knew it, this sweet little girl was embarking on an adventure to Illinois.
A Chance Meeting
The Illinois rescue put her pictures online, hoping to find a foster for her.
At the same time, a woman named Jackie was on her lunch break, scrolling online at rescue dogs in the area.
Jackie wasn’t planning on taking any new fosters in because she had recently started a new job and wanted to get settled before taking on any new responsibilities.
But, she came across the puppy, now named Heaven, online and the photos melted her heart.
“For some reason, I just could not get this puppy out of my head,” Jackie said.
By the end of her lunch break, Jackie had made up her mind…
Jackie called up the rescue and said that she would like to foster Heaven!
Not long after, Jackie and Heaven met for the first time.
Heaven was still very fearful, and a little unsure of everything that was going on.
“She was just this little ball of fluff huddled in the back of the crate,” Jackie said. “She was very scared and didn’t want anything to do with anybody.”
But, it seemed that Heaven was a little less scared of Jackie than everyone else.
“They put her in my arms and I felt her little tail start thumping against my side,” Jackie said. “That was pretty much when I realized I was in love with her.”
Heaven had stolen Jackie’s heart, but Jackie still believed she was just a foster, and Heaven would find a forever home somewhere else.
But, would fate have other plans in store for these two?
Slow and Steady
Things were tough at first.
Heaven was very fearful, even inside of Jackie’s home.
“We took things very slow to give her time to warm up to her environment piece by piece,” Jackie said.
Before long, Jackie decided she was willing to make any changes to her life, both personally and professionally, in order to be what Heaven needed.
“I realized that we had bonded past the point of a regular foster,” Jackie said. “I wanted to keep her. I wanted to adopt her.”
But, things changed a week later when Jackie took Heaven to the vet for her spay surgery.
If You Love Something, Let it Go
The vet that treated Heaven had also fallen in love with her.
The next day, the rescue called Jackie saying that the vet wanted to adopt Heaven.
Jackie was very conflicted.
She loved Heaven so much, she wanted her to have the best life possible.
But, she also wanted to be the one to give Heaven that life!
“A vet is the most qualified mom a dog could have, and I couldn’t in good conscience keep Heaven from that life,” Jackie said.
So, with a heavy but hopeful heart, she let the vet adopt Heaven.
A Match Made in Heaven
Before Jackie even had time to dry her eyes, she got another call from the rescue: the vet wasn’t going to be able to keep Heaven.
Apparently, Heaven was obsessed with her new cat roommates, but the cats were not a fan of her.
The vet gave it a few days, but eventually realized it wasn’t going to be a good match.
“They dropped her back off at my apartment, and I signed the adoption paperwork right after that,” Jackie said.
Jackie was overjoyed to receive her fair shot at giving Heaven the life she deserved.
Facing Her Fears
It seemed that Heaven was also very happy to have found a forever home in Jackie.
Heaven was still pretty wary of the outside world, but Jackie was ready to work with her on all of it.
It took many months, but now Heaven enjoys the outdoors without fear!
Swimming has become her favorite activity, even though she was terrified of water at first.
She also loves playing with squeaky balls and going on hikes.
Heaven had grown so much, and her hard work was about to be recognized…on a national scale!
Worlds Cutest Rescue Dog
One day, one of Jackie’s friends sent her a link to People Magazine’s “Cutest Rescue” contest.
“Obviously, everyone thinks they have the cutest dog,” Jackie said. “So, I entered her picture even though I knew nothing would probably come of it.”
However, Jackie eventually heard back: Heaven had made it into the top 10!
Jackie was so excited and proud of Heaven for making it into the top 10, she never dreamed Heaven might actually win.
But, that’s exactly what happened!
Heaven, with her adorable smile, won worlds cutest rescue dog of the year for 2021!
It’s safe to say that after facing her fears with a smile on her face, Heaven deserves the crown.
Click here to follow Heaven on Instagram and see her cute smile everyday!