When we talk about shelter and rescue, it’s usually people saving dogs, but sometimes, a homeless dog’s savior happens to be another dog. It’s what happened to a shy, petite shepherd mix named Ziggy.
When his adopter, a beloved rescuer named Larry, passed away, Ziggy watched as Larry’s other dogs were adopted into loving homes, while he was overlooked. Life would have been quite lonesome for Ziggy were it not for his best friend, a Rhodesian Ridgeback named Red.
The new tenants at Larry’s home allowed Ziggy and Red to stay in the garage, where they had a bed and access to food, fresh water, and small dirt patch outside. They were visited by the devoted team at the Miami Pet Assistance Coalition, who came to give them baths, long walks, and visits to the vet, but other than that, Ziggy and Red only had each other.
CEO Board Member at MPAC, Alyson Scotti, worked closely with both dogs. Scotti said Red was the “strong and stoic” one of the pack. Red was a survivor, and though she didn’t like the company of other dogs, she always loved Ziggy.
Sadly, left without a real home, Red took Ziggy under her wing. She protected him. He followed her wherever she went with his head hanging low and tail wagging slowly behind him. Ziggy is by nature a timid, passive, and quiet dog; with Red as his guardian, he always felt safe.
At the dogs’ most recent veterinary exam, Red was diagnosed with cancer, the same illness that took her former owner. Even when she was very ill, she stuck by Ziggy. In the final week of her life, she continued to keep her head up and greeted Scotti when she came for visits; though she was quite frail, she always wanted to go on her special walk with Ziggy.
Red passed away peacefully via euthanasia on Sunday, November 22nd, 2015. Amazingly, Red held on until Ziggy found a foster home. Though Ziggy misses his best friend, he transitioned so well into his foster home that the family who took him in has now officially adopted him, and they aren’t going to let him spend another day alone.
Says Scotti of the two dogs and the friendship that got them through the toughest of times, “Nobody thought their lives had any value…except for Larry.” She hopes that Red’s legacy will live on in the hearts and minds of people looking for an extraordinary dog to call their own. Often, it’s the overlooked older dogs, dogs like Red, who prove to be capable of giving the most love.