Photos courtesy of Marshall Boprey
Tera, a 5-year-old German Shepherd, was rescued by BARRK Animal Rescue on Long Island, New York. Her former owners had dropped her at the shelter because her hind legs had given out. Tera was covered in ticks; the vet working on her took more than three hours to remove them. The shelter conjectured that her former owners kept her tied up outside and found her unable to stand up one day.
The shelter promptly had her checked by three different veterinarians in order to thoroughly assess Tera’s health options. They all came back with the same unfortunate diagnosis of cancer, covering 80-90% of her spine. Surgery was not an option because recovery would be too painful, and there was no guarantee that surgery would get rid of all the cancer. The vets gave her an estimated two to three months to live.
The folks at BARRK called Foster Dogs, Inc. (FosterDogsNYC) with the hope of enlisting Tera in their Fospice program so that she could live out her last days, however many there were, in a loving home.
FosterDogsNYC gave Allison Lind a call about this “special case.” Allison, her husband Matt, their rescue pup Frankie and cat Viper welcomed Tera with open arms, despite the fact that they were preparing to move to Seattle within a couple of months.
When Tera first came to their home, she didn’t understand what a dog bed was. The family would put her on a big, lush bed, and Tera would instantly pull herself off onto the hard floor. She also wouldn’t eat out of a dog bowl and would only eat off the ground. Tera clearly wasn’t used to being treated as a beloved family member.
Instead of flying to Seattle for their upcoming move as the family had originally planned, they opted to rent a large mini-van, outfitting the entire back with dog beds. They wanted to give Tera the cross-country adventure of her life! How about that?! Allison and Matt so fully demonstrate compassion – may the love they so freely give come back to them many times over!
ON THE ROAD!
The cross-country trip was indeed full of adventure, from staying in pup-friendly hotels (FosterDogsNYC even sponsored a night is a beautiful B&B on the river in Jackson Hole, WY); visiting the University of Notre Dame; seeing Old Faithful, buffalo, and caribou in Yellowstone National Park; getting VIP access to see Mt. Rushmore; chasing ducks in the Mississippi River; swimming in Montana (with a life jacket BARRK sent); nibbling grass overlooking the Teton Mountains; and meeting many, many dog lovers along the way who gave her more snuggles, hugs, and kisses than she’d had over the course of her lifetime (that is, until she met her new family!).
Now, Tera is living like a queen in the Seattle area. She lives by the water and wakes up every morning to seals swimming nearby and seagulls flying overhead. Tera gets to play in the grass, go swimming, and run with dogs around the yard. Allison reported that her plan is to spoil Tera with treats and love for every minute of every day that she has left.
“The Walkin’ Wheels wheelchair was a huge part that changed Tera’s life for the better early on,” says Allison. “When she came to us, the only way to walk her was with a sling. But she’s a heavy girl (60+ pounds), so the sling was both arduous and awkward, and her walks were inevitably too short. (Even my strong husband was exhausted after a half block.) It was clear Tera didn’t understand why she couldn’t just go.
Through our volunteer network, we found someone who had the perfect-sized Walkin’ Wheels for her to borrow until we could get a permanent chair. When we first put Tera in it, she took to it instantly, as if she’d been in it all along. We buckled her up, and she took off down the block. She had freedom again! It was easily the most heart-warming thing I’ve ever seen. She had lost her ability to be a dog and didn’t understand, but when she has her wheels, she lights up – she’s a happy dog again! She has new life because of her wheels.”
Tera runs. She chases dogs down the beach at low tide. She is loved. Tera now knows the joy of living.
Thank you to people like Allison and Matt, and all the other amazing pet owners who rescue dogs and other animals who deserve a better life – who deserve a chance to experience the beauty of life that is possible when they are cared for and loved.