Ten years ago, NASA sent out astronauts to a space shuttle mission, and one of them is Leland Melvin. The team was told to bring their families for a photo shoot for the press launch of the said mission.

The photo shoot instructions were not specific enough, so Melvin thought of bringing his rescue dogs Jake and Scout to be with him in the portrait. After all, Melvin considers these four-legged babies as his family.


Aside from being a NASA astronaut, Melvin is also an engineer, speaker, educator, and a former NFL player. However, his love for dogs withstood all these accomplishments as he is now a known dog rescue advocate.

Melvin found Jake back in 2002. The poor pup had a rough life with its former owner, was kept in a closet during the day. Melvin chanced upon a Russian teacher who told him about Jake, so went to the shelter and adopted him right away.

Four years later, Melvin was in his kitchen preparing for Thanksgiving. A neighbor caught his attention and told him that Jake is in his front yard. He was confused since his dog was with him in the kitchen. He went outside and found a pup who looked exactly like Jake.

The dog had no tags with him. He looked for its owner but to no avail. He brought the abandoned pup to a vet and got treated for heartworms. Melvin named him Scout, and the rest was history.

Sadly, the dogs passed away last 2014, nine months apart. Jake died at the age of fifteen and lived his life to the full. Scout, on the other hand, had lymphoma and died at the age of nine.

Four years after his dogs’ passing, Melvin adopted another rescue named Zorro. It was perfect timing since he moved to a new home which had enough space for pets.

The eight-month-old puppy is very adventurous. Melvin would bring the pup in his hiking adventures and morning runs. The two bonded quickly.

Now, the two are inseparable, and they continue to advocate adoption together. Melvin also published a book entitled “Chasing Space,” featuring Jake and Scout in the cover.

Check out the interview with Melvin below and learn about how the portrait with Jake and Scout came about:

Video credit: Youtube Fox News

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