Last year on December 13th, the owners of blind, feeble 14-year-old Blackie dropped him off at the Austin Animal Center, expecting him to be euthanized.
They knew he was very sick, and he has a visible tumor on his chest, but they weren’t sure what specifically was ailing him because he’d never been to the vet. In fact, he’d never even been let indoors.
Although the Austin Animal Center is the largest no-kill shelter in America, vets on staff considered helping Blackie over the Rainbow Bridge to end his suffering. But when Austin Pets Alive! (APA!) agreed to take him in to their “fospice” program, everything changed.
You see, this amazing organization specifically works with animals at risk for euthanasia, including those with behavioral or health issues. They also have a “fospice,” or “foster hospice” program, where dying animals are able to live in comfortable, loving foster homes for the remainder of their time on Earth.
“We believe that by offering a comfortable final stop, we can dignify the deaths of dogs and cats and provide them with a proper send off…We want every dog or cat, who has any good days left, to experience them in a home and with someone who loves them,” said Ellen Jefferson, APA!’s executive director in a story by Huffington Post.
Lucky for Blackie, he was only at the shelter one night because APA! volunteer (and dog-loving angel) Brunie Drummond took him to her home the very next day, in hopes that he’d make it long enough to enjoy his very first warm, cozy Christmas as a loved member of the family.
Thrilled, the newly-housed old pup quickly fell in love with his new foster mom. And although Drummond and shelter staff weren’t sure if he would make it more than a couple days, he was able to celebrate his very first Christmas with presents, playing outside, and snuggles on the couch.
Said Drummond in the above-mentioned article, “Blackie loves food and chest scratches. He also loves sneaking up onto my bed every time I leave the house.”
Although foster-mom Drummond knows that hard times are ahead when she inevitably loses Blackie, she knows that her sadness is worth the contentment felt by this sweet pup for the remainder of his days. She’s appreciating every minute she gets to spend with him, and hopes for the gift of a little more time.
“Blackie now deserves to spend every day he has left sleeping indoors on a comfortable bed, getting love and affection as often as possible…And when his time comes, I want him to feel comfort and loved as he passes,” she said. What an angel!
Blackie crossed the Rainbow Bridge on January 30th, 2016, feeling content and loved.
“Blackie passed away in the arms of his angel, volunteer and foster mom, Brunie. In Brunie’s words: ‘Today I had to say goodbye to one of sweetest souls I’ve ever met, Blackie,’” reads this post.
It’s heartbreaking that Blackie died just six weeks after finding a home, but Brunie gave him the most amazing gift of all: a sense of purpose, a home, and what it’s like to be loved. Rest in peace, sweet boy.