The Habitat for Humanity volunteers arrived at the foreclosed home looking forward to beginning the rehab work that would transform this empty house into a home for a low income family. But when they opened the door they found, along with old unwanted furniture, an old, unwanted German Shepherd so emaciated he could barely stand to greet them.
All thoughts of demolition fled at the site of this poor, tottering dog left behind like the rest of the trash in the house. The group immediately set to care for the old guy, bringing him water and feeding him bites of their own lunches, which he gently took from their hands with a soft wags of his tail.
It was decided that two volunteers would drive the dog to a nearby vet, while others would begin calling rescue organizations to see if they could find the dog they had quickly named King a place to go.
Once at the vet, the volunteers explained the situation and the entire office went to work on King, who accepted all of the attention calmly, occasionally licking a hand or wagging his tail. The vet set up IVs, drew blood and gave him a thorough check-up, finally deciding there were no obvious illnesses that came to light, only an extended lack of food and water.
The vet told the volunteers he wanted to keep King with him for at least 24 hours – or longer if necessary if a place was not found for him. Everyone who had come in contact with the old black and silver German Shepherd had fallen in love with his soft eyes, calm manner and obvious gratitude for every kindness shown to him.
The Habitat for Humanity volunteers called every rescue they could find in the area, but all were full to overflowing. Several rescues offered to post information and photos of King on their website to see if a foster home would come forward.
The following morning, they found an email forwarded by one of the rescues from a woman almost 400 miles away saying, “I am sure you have found someplace for this sweet old guy, but I did want to offer a home to King if no one else steps forward. My only concern is how to get him here.” The immediately called and had a long conversation with the woman who turned out to foster dogs for a German Shepherd rescue, already. She was perfect! So it was decided to send King north to her.
The effort changed to finding transportation for King for the 400 mile journey. Two days later, the transportation was arranged, with several drivers – complete strangers – who agreed to drive from one point to another. King, too was ready to leave the vet’s by this time, stabilized and much less frail looking than he had been only a few days before.
More than 24 hours later, a bit after midnight, the final leg of King’s journey came to an end. The door of the van opened, and King’s new mom stepped forward and wrapped her arms around him saying, “Welcome home.” King leaned against her and sighed a deep sigh of contentment.
King’s story is true. He has been in his new home for two months now. Each day, his mom wonders how anyone could close the door and walk away from this beautiful old soul, leaving him to die a slow death – alone. Each day, King shows his gratitude with unconditional love.
King is one of the lucky ones. So many animals are being abandoned in homes, neighborhoods or in rural areas – left to fend for themselves. Some people are responsible and make the heartbreaking decision to rehome their beloved companion because they can no longer afford them, or are losing their homes. In Louisiana, scores of animals are losing their homes as a result of the oil spill and the loss of jobs and incomes.
Old dogs are the best!