Sussex family helps Facebook celebrate National Dog Day every day
SUSSEX BOROUGH — The town that Bobbie Jo and Jeff Ledford call home has a population of just over 2,000 people, but a Facebook page dedicated in memory of their late dog has grown to more than three times that size and become important for them and the other residents of "Odinville."
The Facebook page called "Odin's Bucket List" was created after the Ledfords learned their St. Bernard Odin had bone cancer, and they wanted to give him the best life possible. Bobbie Jo Ledford said Odin knocked an impressive 51 items off his bucket list, including meeting New Jersey Devils legend Patrick Elias, and going to a Staten Island Yankees game.
"He loved it," she said of their trip to Staten Island. "He loved his jersey. He loved walking the bases."
The Ledfords said Odin was happy wherever he went, as long as whoever was there was ready to give him a little love, and maybe a vanilla ice cream cone for really special occasions.
On the same day Odin met Elias his health took a noticeable decline, and the Ledfords made the difficult decision to put Odin down so he wouldn't suffer anymore. For as hard as the decision was, there has been some good news, as the family recently adopted another St. Bernard they named Thor.
"He doesn't replace Odin," Jeff Ledford said of the puppy his wife described as "wonderful" and "fluffy." "Every night she would wake up crying and she would keep me awake crying because Odin wasn't there. Sometimes you need to get another dog. Not to replace them, but just so you have something to love."
While Thor is just a pup the Ledfords said they see similarities between the dogs. Jeff Ledford said Thor likes to lay in the same places that Odin did, and also loves meeting people just like Odin did as well.
As for Odinville, the Ledfords said it has become much bigger than a page meant to track the adventures of a dog having one fun time after another. The page has almost 7,500 members, but the Ledfords said it is more of a family than they could have expected it to be.
"It's become a family of people who care for each other," Jeff said. "It's a place that people can go and cry about an animal or a pet who is sick or support for that animal. It's a place where people can come and see pictures and be happy."
On a daily basis the page is filled with pictures of dogs, stories of their adventures and everything to make a dog lover's day. The Ledford's said they like that their page is haven from negativity that has overtaken social media, and that's okay with them.
"It's for the love of a dog, which has become a family of people who don't even know each other," Jeff said. "There's people who love Odin that never met him. There's people that love Thor that never met him. It's just a place you can go without Facebook drama."
Thor spent part of National Dog Day at Franklin Pond Park in Franklin. To celebrate the day the Ledfords took a picture of their new pup with a picture of the pup that inspired Odinville in the first place.