When Brunie Drumond heard about Blackie, a 14 year-old Lab Mix surrendered to the Austin Animal Center, she felt compelled to take action. Blackie had lost his sight due to untreated cataracts and Glaucoma, and had a rather large tumor on his chest. His entire life had been spent as an outdoor dog, never receiving veterinary care.
Blackie’s previous owners believed they were surrendering him to the shelter to be put to sleep, and if not for a twist of fate, that may have been the outcome. But thanks to the compassion of one woman, Blackie’s story was just beginning.
Drumond is a volunteer at Austin Pets Alive! and felt that she was equipped to foster Blackie for whatever time he may have remaining in his life. She wanted him to experience what it’s like to be loved and cared for in a warm, safe home before he passed away.
I wanted to help Blackie because of his history of being an outside dog and not getting proper care. I feel so strongly that every dog should feel love at the end of their life. I wanted to give him a loving comfortable end to his life.
Blackie arrived at Drumond’s home just in time to experience his first Christmas indoors as a welcome family member. He received a few gifts of his own and quickly bonded with the other pets in the household. His most cherished moments were those spent snuggled with his hospice caregiver/foster mom (aka: Fospice Mom) on the sofa.
Drumond, the folks at the Austin Animal Center, and the veterinary staff at Austin Pets Alive! were all in for quite a surprise. The dog they believed was going home with a dedicated volunteer to die in peace began to improve drastically. Despite his blindness, he began to follow Drumond through the home by tracking the sound of her voice. At first he had struggled just to walk, now he began happily interacting with his new cat and dog siblings.
In response to Blackie’s new lease on life, Kristen Auerbach, Deputy Chief Animal Services Officer for the Austin Animal Center, posted the following statement to their Facebook page:
We don’t know how long Blackie has to live, but we do know that he will never spend another night outdoors, cold and alone. We know he’ll get only the best love and care from Brunie while he is with us and most importantly, we know when Blackie passes away, he will be surrounded by people and animals who love him and who, at the very end, showed him what it’s like to be a part of a family.
Not everyone is emotionally capable of providing hospice care to a shelter dog nearing the end of its life. While avoiding this potentially heartbreaking service is certainly understandable, Dr. Ellen Jefferson, Executive Director of Austin Pets Alive! explained the benefits to ABC News:
Fostering or adopting a pet nearing the end of its life is one of the most rewarding experiences you will ever have. You will never come across a more grateful creature to be saved than a grey-muzzled cat or dog.
If you think you may possess the unique qualities needed to open your heart and home to a senior pet, or if you would like to make a donation to help these special animals, there are lots of resources out there. Petfinder.com and adoptapet.com both allow you to search specifically for older pets in your area. There are also rescue groups and sanctuaries all over the country that specialize in placing senior pets in furever homes.
And of course, if you can, please consider donating to Austin Pets Alive!
Featured Image via Brunie Drummond