The staff at the Los Angeles County Animal Shelter found an over-13-year-old Daschund tied outside with a heartbreaking anonymous note from an elderly couple asking that he be put down because they “could no longer afford to care for him and his illnesses.” They may have thought this was their only option, but the caring shelter staff and a local nonprofit organization teamed up to help, reports the Blaze.
“We are both seniors, sick with no money. We cannot pay for vet bills, or to put him to sleep. He has never been away from us in all those years, he cannot function without us, please put him to sleep,” said the note that was left with the dog last week.
A local nonprofit group called Leave No Paws Behind, which focuses on “seniors and pets with special needs,” was contacted by a shelter employee who believed the dog and owners still needed each other. A veterinary examination revealed that the dog’s ailments were treatable. It was decided to try to reunite the senior canine, whom they called “Harley,” with his owners.
“That snapped my heart in two when I read the letter,” Toby Wisneski, CEO and founder of Leave No Paws Behind, told KCBS-TV.
The next few days were a joint effort of getting Harley the help he needed and deciding on how to find his owners.
“His skin is a mess and he tested positive for non-contagious demodex mange, he does have some bloody stools, HOWEVER, Doc believes it is all treatable!” Leave No Paws Behind posted on its Facebook page upon receiving Harley.
By Friday, Harley was “doing great” after receiving treatment for the itchy, ugly skin condition. Leave No Paws Behind was flooded with calls to adopt him but stuck to the plan to reunite him with his original owners, who obviously loved him very much for a very long time.
“I do not believe that all humans who surrender their loving companions are bad people. What I have come to realize is that some, and there are a few, fall on hard and difficult times, loss of jobs, senior and elderly folks who are sick and need help, loss of homes etc etc. I also believe that they are not aware that there is help out there for their beloved pets and we are hoping to be able to get that message to them,” the organization posted on Facebook.
“If Harley’s humans come forward, we will speak with them, do our standard home check AND if we find that they are indeed loving, kind and genuinely care for sweet Harley, which we do believe, and the only issue is help with medical care and basic needs for him, yes, we will reunite them!”
Finally, on Wednesday, someone who had seen Harley’s plight posted on the Internet identified the owners and they were overjoyed to see their “Otto” was alive and receiving care. His exact name is Otto Wolfgang Maximus, the Blaze informs us.
“We just are living week to week,” one of Otto’s owners, who asked to remain anonymous, told KTLA-TV, expressing their grief at leaving the dog. “We can’t even go to the hospital to get our treatment.”
“We thought he was dead, but he lives,” the owner continued. “He’s being well taken care of and, boy, we’re just so extremely grateful.”
So, Otto will be officially reunited with his family on March 28, and they will receive the help they need to make the sunset of all their lives a time really worth living—together.