McFeely: Fran and Earl, the senior dog couple, are adopted and everything is going well for the world for a while – InForum

FARGO – We’re going to pause momentarily from the gloom and doom to introduce you to someone who might just be an angel, and she lives here. Her name is Jenna Jackson and she loves dogs.

She loves all dogs – all animals, in fact – but Jenna especially loves old dogs, those who don’t have much chance of being adopted from a shelter because who, after all, would like to take a dog that you could only get a few months or a year or two with?

Jenna would, and does. She adopts hospice dogs, those that end up in the pound or in shelters that are terminally ill or at the end of their life. And she gives them a home, love and a dignified end.

“I used to be the admissions coordinator for a few rescue organizations, and once there was an old dog we couldn’t adopt,” Jackson said. “He was an old dog that came in and he couldn’t really be adopted, so I thought I’d take him. His name was Macy, and he was my first hospice dog and he was the best dog of all time. And then I just fell in love with dogs that end up in the pound and they’re old and just not adoptable.”

Jackson owns Sit Stay Spa, a pet grooming business in West Fargo. She chatted while petting a small dog, with young staff on either side of her doing the same. She started the business two years ago after working at the Mutt Hutt in Moorhead for 15 years.


Earl and Fran, dogs adopted from the Homeward Animal Shelter, stand outside the Fargo Theater in downtown Fargo with their new owner Jenna Jackson.

Hannah Stonehouse Hudson /

Dogs are clearly at the center of his life.

“The older ones are the better ones. They’re so sweet,” Jackson said. “They come to you and they’re just super cool. Just the best.”

And so, naturally, when news spread in Fargo-Moorhead that there were a couple of senior dogs at the Homeward animal shelter – Fran and Earl – looking for a forever home after their previous person couldn’t take care of them anymore, Jenna started receiving messages. Nudges, really.

She should adopt Fran and Earl. She would be the perfect couple for them. Who could be better for those old pit bulls than Jenna?

“I saw them on Facebook, and people kept tagging me,” Jenna said. “And then I heard they were super nice. So, yeah.”

It became official this week when Homeward announced on social media that Fran and Earl had been adopted by Jenna (and her boyfriend, kids, and other family dogs, cats, and bunnies). The event was marked by a “honeymoon” and photo shoot in downtown Fargo that included a frozen treat for the dogs.

It gives a happy ending to a story the shelter has done a wonderful and creative job of telling.

Earl is 11 1/2, Fran 9 1/2. They had been together most of their lives with the same owner and bonded, which meant they needed to be together. When their previous person had to abandon them, Earl and Fran had to be adopted as a couple. Separating them would have been unacceptable.


Earl and Fran, a pair of related dogs adopted from the Homeward Animal Shelter in Fargo.

Hannah Stonehouse Hudson /

Getting two dogs is a big ask for anyone. Consider the advanced age of the dogs and the shelter had the difficult task of finding them a new home.

Thus, Homeward’s staff became innovative.

They arranged a “wedding” for Fran and Earl and made it an event. I was asked to be the celebrant and read their vows. WDAY-TV and another local station reported on the wedding.

It was all fun, meant to introduce Fran and Earl and the other dogs and cats currently housed at the North Fargo shelter, still waiting for their forever home.

“We couldn’t be happier for Fran and Earl,” said Heather Klefstad, Marketing Director of the Homeward Shelter. “They’ve found the best home with Jenna and her family. It’s the happily ever after that this bonded senior pair has always deserved.”

Fran and Earl fit in well with Jenna and her family. They sleep in beds, get along with other pets, and cuddle up with children.

“Fran loves our kitten, a little cat I picked up from the pound. The kids like to take her for walks. She has more energy than I expected. She sees a leash and she says “Yeah, let’s go. She’s excited,” Jenna said. “Earl, he’s right there. He’s in on it. He doesn’t know what’s going on half the time, but he’s so funny. He likes cat tunnels. He buries himself in one of my cat tunnels and drives like crazy.”

Jenna started an Instagram account — earlnfran — to document the dog couple’s exploits. The posted videos tell the story.

“They love life,” she said.

Fran and Earl have a forever home. And for a moment, the madness of the world evaporates and all is well.