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Family adopts neglected dog after she wandered into their home

The dog, now known as Suzy, had no chip and was malnourished and injured.
Suzy has made herself at home after being adopted by the Jokinen family.
Suzy has made herself at home after being adopted by the Jokinen family. Jack Jokinen
/ Source: TODAY

When Emily Jokinen woke her husband, Jack, in the middle of the night, to tell him that she'd found a puppy in the house, he wasn't quite able to understand what she was saying.

According to security footage, the dog — now known as Suzy Pupman — wandered into their Philadelphia home at around 3:15 in the morning on Saturday. Just moments later, Emily went downstairs to find a pacifier for their one-month-old daughter and found Suzy sitting on the floor.

"She woke me up and said 'The baby is fine, but there is a puppy in our house,'" Jack said. "I wasn't sure — honestly, I was just like, 'What does that mean? You said words that I know, but they don't go in that order.' And at the same time, my parents are visiting, and I did wonder, like, 'Is this a messed-up Christmas gift?'"

While the Jokinens initially thought the dog was a puppy, they soon realized she was older, with a veterinarian estimating that she was between seven and nine years old. However, she was underweight and malnourished, which made her appear small.

"I went downstairs, and on the first floor, in the middle of our house, there was sitting what looked to be like a cold, wet puppy," Jack said. "The front door was locked, the back door was locked, windows closed, everything. There was kind of this mystery puppy, in our house, and we had no idea how it got here."

Security footage revealed that when Jack walked the couple's dog, Jorge Pawsada, he left the door slightly open. Around 3:16 in the morning, Suzy came "hobbling" down the street on three legs.

"We don't know if it was the light, the warmth, smelling George (their nickname for Jorge Pawsada), that she came in the house, and then she went out of it, and kind of on our porch, and then she was in the house," he explained. A neighbor walked past the house later, around 3:45 in the morning, and closed the door as a courtesy, sealing Suzy inside.

Once the pair woke up and found Suzy, they began to plan. Jack said he and Emily stayed up for the rest of the night looking up things like "What do you do when you find a dog?"

They called Animal Control, who said they could check for a chip and give her up, if necessary.

"We didn't like the way that sounded," Jack explained. "We started to realize that we didn't know if this was a puppy, but this dog was injured, and if you just put it in the system, this isn't a dog anyone is looking for for Christmas. We said, at a minimum, let's call a vet."

The pair called an emergency veterinarian, who said that there was no chip. However, she had several health problems, including lots of fleas and ticks, dental problems, and injured paw pads. According to Jack, Suzy weighed just 19 pounds, when she should be between 35 and 40 pounds.

"As we kind of woke up, we realized 'Wait, that's an underweight dog,'" Jack said. "Like, I felt a lot of ribs. The ribs are the most prominent thing you see about her. This dog can't go back wherever she was, even if there was a chip. I don't know if it was lucky or not, but there was no chip."

An active Twitter user, Jack was sharing updates about the story on his personal Twitter account. Former Indianapolis Colts player Pat MacAfee made a joke about the dog belonging to Jack now, and the Internet agreed.

"People started to jump on it. There was a lot of 'That's your dog,'" Jack said. "It really started to feel like she was our dog. Some people said 'If you can't take this dog, I'll take the dog, she looks scared.' Others said 'If you need money to help with that dog, we'll send money.'"

Since people kept asking, Jack directed donors to his Venmo page, where they've raised more than $15,000. He said that he hopes Suzy's care won't cost that much, and said that he plans to donate any leftover funds to a charity, though he and Emily haven't had time to decide which charity to give to yet.

Jack said that he and Emily weren't looking for money, but are loving the support.

"We look at it and we say, so much of the world and this country, we're all fighting with each other," he said. "It's the holiday season and it's not about us, it's about this dog that people have found faith in. It's about this guy Steve, who walked past my house and decided not to take my wife's wallet but to close the door. We're simply the vessel of this story, and anything we do to keep it going and spread the awareness that there are good people out there ... Suzy is not really our dog. She's kind of the Internet's dog at this point."

After just two days with Jack and Emily, Suzy has already warmed up to her new home. George gave up one of his beds for her, and Jack said that she is great with his one-month-old daughter. A sweet video from Sunday morning, shared on Jack's Twitter, showed that she loves being around her new family, and other Tweets indicate that Suzy has made herself at home.

"She's been through a lot," Jack said. "She's not where she should be, health-wise, but she's not where she was, and we're going in the right direction ... And when you look at her, and you look at the winter weather that's been coming through the area, if she didn't find that door, she probably doesn't see the New Year, if she even sees Christmas, and I think she's just happy to be warm and loved and fed."