Michael Jackson says a girl gave him a second chance at life at age 73 after he suffered a stroke - and wants this girl maybe to do the same for somebody else.
This girl is no tart, although she figures to be about the equal of 30 years old, flashes a pretty smile with a snootful of white teeth and sports thick, honey-blonde hair.
Sure, the hair is on this girl's back and face, too. But "Girl" is a dog, so a hairy face is OK.
"I had a stroke New Year's Day, and she barked and wailed and woke up my wife," Michael said. "She doesn't bark normally. But she just howled."
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Michael was immobile on the floor when all that howling and barking from Girl woke up Aileen Jackson.
"She woke me up, I called 911, and Michael is here today," Aileen said. "Without Girl, who knows what might have happened?"
Michael is still recovering from the stroke, has had thyroid and prostate cancer and had a double hip replacement. Aileen has had three heart attacks.
Because of this older couple's combined health problems, they are moving this week to Raleigh, N.C., to first live temporarily with a daughter, then in senior living.
"It just wouldn't be possible at most places, for the place or Girl, to have a 60-pound dog inside all the time," Aileen said. "We can't walk her. We can't give Girl the life she needs to be happy.
"We have been told that she is too old to be trained as a dog for people with special needs, or for other kinds of training that usually start with younger dogs.
"But she has so much love to give."
So the Jacksons are hoping that somebody will adopt Girl and she doesn't have to go to a dog pound - or worse.
Maybe some family with kids who can run, or a family that needs a steady friend who has already shown that when there is an emergency, Girl can be counted on.
The Jacksons found Girl as a puppy four years ago when they responded to a classified ad in The Herald that was asking for a good home for a puppy. They gave Girl a good home, took her for regular grooming at Animal Supply House.
Denise Harris, a groomer at Animal Supply House, has served the Jacksons and Girl for years and knows all about how Girl's actions helped save Michael. She is working with local contacts and with a Rock Hill-based group called Project Safe Pet to find Girl a suitable home.
"Girl saved Mr. Jackson's life," Harris said. "Now we all hope that we can save Girl's life in return."
Michael's health doesn't allow him to romp around with the Girl who saved his life. But he tells people all the time: "I got a Girl who sure is good, and I want to find her a new home."
"Doing all we can to try and find a place where Girl will be happy, and help somebody else, doesn't seem like too much to ask after all Girl has done for us," Michael said. "In life, if you find a good 'Girl,' you are lucky.
"A good Girl can save you. This Girl sure saved me."
Want to help?
Anyone interested in adopting Girl can call Denise Harris at 803-366-2959 or Project Safe Pet at 803-327-3602.