Rescuer pens open letter to owner of ailing 16-year-old dog dumped at shelter

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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 OaksLucky will be in need of a hospice foster in the So Ca area, please email” 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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19 replies
  1. Barkley's Mom says:

    I don’t know how people can dump their ailing pets and walk away. Their pet wouldn’t walk away from them!. They knew Lucky was dying and they should have done the right thing and taken him to be put to sleep. Were they too cheap? Certainly they could have come up with the money somehow. Bless Leave No Paws Behind for taking on what the owners should have, Lucky at least didn’t die alone in a cold cage at a kill shelter.

  2. SueBiss says:

    I guess some people can’t face putting their dog to sleep so they just leave them at a shelter for them to do the sad job. I do understand that is the worst day in your life to put your pet to sleep, but I have NEVER left my pets to die alone, I am with them in the end. I am getting older, I feel now more than ever how I would want my family and loved ones around me when I face the end of my life, which hopefully won’t be for many years yet… I can relate even more now how our pets need us there more than anything when they are dying, and the need to hold them as they pass.

  3. Bunny Peters says:

    It’s absolutely heartbreaking how awful and callous some individuals can be to defenseless animals……

    I just know that anyone who is deliberately cruel to others (people and animals) will burn in Hell forever for their cruelty…… Here’s hoping they get there ASAP after suffering in pain, alone, terrified and worst of all, unloved as they die (as they did to others)…….

    RIP precious Lucky. You were loved during your last hours and I am glad you received this comfort instead of dying alone, in pain, afraid and worst of all, unloved…..
    How anyone could have neglected and abandoned you (with your precious face) is incomprehensible…… Senior furbabies are absolute treasures and deserve the best……
    I know you are in Heaven. Please look for MacKitty and he will welcome you into his “snuggle buddies club”!!!!!!!!! May you RIP among his loving friends…..

    When I was little, I told a priest that if animals were not in Heaven, I didn’t want to go there…… I told him that I wanted to go where the dogs and cats and horses went…… He assured me that all animals went to Heaven…….

  4. Helen says:

    RIP sweet one. I’m sorry your owner left you in your time of need, but you were cared and loved by strangers who eased your journey across the rainbow bridge.

  5. Michele Conte says:

    My only problem with the shelter worker’s letter is this: I believe it sends the wrong message to weak, cheap, soul-less pet owners who — in their twisted minds — will think they’d be doing right by dumping their aged or ailing dog into the hands of animal lovers who will comfort it until it dies, or euthanize it to relieve its pain! People who dump aged or sick pets just don’t want to be bothered by a dog, old or young, that asks anything of them other a little food and water now and then. They probably treat their spouses and kids that way, too! No doubt these pond-scummers think that the shelter workers who care so much for strangers’ animals, and fill in for their uncaring owners at the dog’s end, are dumb suckers. I foster dogs from kill shelters and see some pretty sad dogs. I also see how just a little bit of attention, kindness and affection can transform a formerly abused or neglected dog into a happy, trusting pet. I shudder to think of how empty and lonely Lucky’s life was throughout his good years while living with people who kept him around only as long as he didn’t need anything from them, like love, play, and vet care. Rest in peace and romp in heaven, Lucky. You are free of your ailing body and released from a life of hell with the sub-humans who failed you.

  6. Melissa Gurley says:

    I don’t know how the owners could do this to this someone knows who they are and should give them a copy of the letter I hope they live in guilt for the rest of their lives it’s not easy to put a pet down but with you there holding and loving them it’s alot easier to pass for them after all they loved you everyday and they never asked for anything in return and you just dump them how so very sad

  7. Gail Calhoun says:

    This rescuer is immature, desires attention, a drama queen for sure. Or just thoughtless. I wonder if potential other owners of adoptable dogs read her righteous remarks and decide against adopting. Why is she presuming the owner had no feelings for their dog? Did something said suggest so? The only thing I understand about this is I believe I could never, would never give my dog up to anyone. I really think the owners of lucky for whatever reason did not make their best decision. Maybe the owner was over whelmed and could not face losing the dog. A dog that lives to be 16 was probably well cared for, fed regularly, received medical care or would have died before making it to 16 years. The picture shows a really nice looking little dog. I recently lost my own dog of 15 and one half years to a seizure. I was prepared for him to live as long as he could, with out excessive pain. I had spent my own food money on Chinese herbs to ease the seizures and other related costs of his care. I thought I was making good progress. His hair was beautiful, skin good. Energy not too bad for 15 and 1/2. Teeth looked better,too. Appetite good if he liked the meal, less so if he didn’t. I fed him good meat, added cooked vegetables and a hills diet formula trying to avoid too soft stools, diarrhea. There were good signs I was doing the right things for my Baby. After not having a seizure for almost 2 months, he suffered 3 in one week and I lost him. I still feel like I failed him or did not enough and re think aspects of his care and what I wish I could now do differently for him. It is easy to under estimate how much you love someone.

    • Melissa Gurley says:

      I think you are totally wrong for saying this recuser wanted attention if not for her this dog would of died alone do you think it was easy for her a person who loves and helps animals if that was the case and the owner could not handle it she or he should of told them that there is No excuse for dumping a dog you should be thankful to her and the rescue that poor dog only knew it’s owners their voices their smell how scared he must of been she has to deal with this everyday personally I could not watch the abuse and poor dogs getting dumped so spend a day in her shoes and see how you would feel

      • Gail Calhoun says:

        I agree the owners let this little dog down and yes, in after thought-they sure could have been more honest about how they felt, if it was not being able to cope with the dog’s illness. It is too difficult for me to fathom having a dog for 16 years and then just giving him to a death house. Thanks to all of the knowledgeable caring rescue people for this great work they do.

  8. Pamela Holtel says:

    My 16 year old cat died in my arms on July 29 and it still makes me cry almost every day. I wish it eas any day but a Sunday when I couldn’t reach a vet. His death was hard on all of us. I wish I could haf shown him mercy. And yes I would have still have held hom too the end. I wish I could turn back time so I could have made it easier for him. May he RIP
    Broken Hearted Forever.

  9. Nancy Raymond says:

    There is NO excuse for dumping a 16 year old dog in a shelter for any reason whatsoever – this is cold, cruel and irresponsible. I hate people that treat any animal like a disposable object – look in the mirror lousy owner, this means you.

  10. Denise Moore says:

    Thank you for not allowing Lucky to die alone and shame on the person that dumped him. If you own a pet please have the humanity to allow them to die at home with you rather than dump them to die in a cold shelter floor. Pets are a responsibility not a possession to discard when they are near death. HUMANITY Humans

  11. Red says:

    I hope the owners or someone who KNOWS the “monsters/owners” passes these comments on to their heartless, soulless sorry excuse for humans. THIS IS HORRID…. your beautiful fur kid has to be loved and cared for in the end by strangers…………..but at least he finally FELT LOVE. Obviously that was something you did not know or understand!


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