I occasionally help with the rehoming of pets and received a call from my groomer asking if I could help two dogs whose owner, Sam, was going into hospice care at a Bloomington facility. My groomer asked if I could speak to Sam’s sister, Alice, who was making the arrangements for Sam and his estate, and attempting to find homes for a white poodle named Girlfriend and Oliver, a senior Shih Tzu. If I couldn’t help, both dogs were going to an animal shelter in just a few days.
I contacted a friend who manages a rescue just south of Chicago, and as the dogs were not bonded, she could place them, but in different homes. So, I called Sam’s sister Alice to find out more information and tell her what I could offer.
However, during our discussion, Alice had an unusual request: If Oliver passed before Sam, could I promise to give Oliver’s ashes to Sam, they could be buried together when Sam died? That touched my heart so I asked more questions.
Sam had gotten Oliver at six weeks old and Oliver never left Sam’s side. They did everything together and now, due to Sam’s failing health, they were being separated. Oliver was 15 to 16 yrs old, fairly healthy, but he had “crusty eyes” and didn’t like having them messed with – only his groomer was successful in cleaning his face.
The more I thought about it, the more I knew I needed to find a safe foster home locally so we could take Oliver to visit Sam. I felt they both needed to see each other through this final journey. I started networking and was told about Silver Linings Rescue later that night and told to speak with Rachel. Once we connected, I explained the need to keep Oliver in a home where he could be taken out to visit Sam until he passed. Once Rachel heard the story, she didn’t even pause, she just said, “Yes, absolutely we will help Oliver”. We set up a time to meet and transport Oliver to his new foster home.
Alice reported the groomer came a couple of days ago to bath Oliver and clean his eyes. He had not let anyone put in his eye medication since the cleaning and both eyes, especially the right one, was covered in a dried discharge that looked very painful. As Sam’s health had deteriorated so had his ability to care for Oliver’s eyes – and the neglect showed.
I tried to clean them myself, but true to form, Oliver wasn’t having it. So I decided to go ahead and meet with Rachel as planned at Culver’s parking lot. To say I wasn’t worried that she would change her mind when she saw him is a vast understatement. I had shared with her that his eyes looked terrible, but seeing it in person was a different matter entirely.
But when Rachel met him, she was warm, gentle and loving. Instead of saying “no” to Oliver, the sad little, crusty-eyed, senior Shih Tzu whose dad was dying, Rachel said “absolutely yes! Let’s get you fixed up and then go visit your dad.” – Kathy George