A plea went out to animal rescuers on Thursday asking for help. A 16-year-old dog with age-related health problems had been surrendered to an open admission shelter in California. Leave No Paws Behind volunteered to place the senior, named Lucky, into a foster home; most likely a hospice environment, but a home where he could live out his days being loved and spoiled.
“RESCUED BY Leave No Paws Behind, Inc.! His name is Lucky, he is 16 years old, blind, depressed, has a 3/6 grade heart murmur, dental disease and has a hard time walking and his luck was running out HOWEVER today we scooped him up in our arms and carried him right out of the shelter! HE IS SAFE and now on the LNPB Freedom ride to The Pet Doctors of Sherman Oaks! Lucky will be in need of a hospice foster in the So Ca area, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.” posted the organization on Friday.
The next morning, Leave No Paws Behind received a call from their vet. Lucky had suffered multiple seizures. His liver enzyme values were extremely elevated and with his critical heart murmur, Lucky’s life was soon to be lost.
“To Lucky’s owners: My heart is so heavy this morning as we watched your loving dog of 16 years sadly leave us,” rescue found Toby Wisneski wrote on Facebook. “I suspect that Lucky had other seizures and that you knew he was at the end of his life and this is why you made, whatever your reason, the decision to surrender him to a high kill shelter where he would continue to suffer for days…
But on Thursday afternoon, Lucky was carried out of the shelter – a smile seemed to reach across his beautiful face.
“I try not to judge however I do struggle with knowing he was abandoned and left to die alone and wondering on a cold shelter floor when he needed his humans the most. I take consolation in knowing he left us surrounded by so much love and was not alone knowing that his life mattered. He was newly blind and deaf so he did not have to suffer the agony of looking around for the only humans he loved for 16 years or waiting to hear a familiar voice letting him know how much he was going to be missed.”
Lucky didn’t die alone and he didn’t die in a shelter. He was held and comforted by compassionate rescuers, even though Lucky didn’t know anyone, Somehow Lucky managed to hold onto those last hours of his life where it made a difference.
“Today we, total strangers, held and said goodbye to your pet of 16 years. Today, we, perfect strangers, let him know he was not alone, he was loved and that his life mattered, because even though we were perfect strangers to Lucky, to him at that very moment, we were the humans who showed compassion, love and shed so many tears as we let him know how much he will be missed…”
Will Lucky’s owners ever read the message? Will they now be searching for a puppy to take Lucky’s place, and just perhaps, we can hope they will stop in their tracks when they spot the white fur, the crooked smile and the hundreds of gentle goodbyes to a dog whose honored rescuers became his family.
Rest in peace little one. You are gone, but not forgotten.
To help Leave No Paws Behind rescue more dogs or in honor of Lucky, donations can be sent by clicking here.
(Photo of Lucky a 16-year-old dog, by Leave No Paws Behind)
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