SHAWNEE, Kan. -- When Joe Smith lost his wife in 2015, only one thing kept him going: his beloved beagle named Bebe.
“She saved whatever was left of me by being able to come home and see her and be with her,” Smith said.
But when Joe went back to work, he discovered a new problem. He told neighbors he needed someone to watch Bebe while he was away.
In the first of many twists of fate, one neighbor just happened to overhear Joe’s predicament.
“It was probably a week or two later that I overheard the conversation about Bebe,” neighbor Sheran Casey said.
Casey agreed to help Joe watch Bebe. It seemed the neighborly thing to do.
“I have a pretty big heart, so I couldn’t stand the idea of her being in the apartment by herself,” she said.
“The introduction took about five seconds,” Joe Smith recalls. “Because little Bebe just jumped all over her and loved her up, and they bonded immediately.”
Before long, Sheran became more than just a neighbor. She became a friend. Sheran had also lost her husband to illness.
“I had never dated. I just had no interest,” Sheran said.
Over time, Sheran and Joe became more than just friends and neighbors.
“We were at a restaurant one night, when he proposed, and I was so shocked,” Sheran said.
But then, sadly, Bebe, the beagle who brought them together, also passed away.
“Neither one of us were trying to replace Bebe with a similar type dog,” Joe said.
Even so, that’s when Brittany, another beagle, walked into their lives at an adoption event.
“I have a way with children and animals,” Sheran said.
So now, these two people, who had loved and lost spouses and animal companions, are now getting a fresh start at a time in their lives when they least expected it.
“Love conquers all,” Sheran smiles.
"Do I feel blessed?" Joe asked. "Yeah. I mean, to meet someone wonderful and beautiful, who I just love to pieces, I didn’t think I’d be that lucky again.”
Joe and Sheran hope to set a wedding date soon.