Last week, Susie’s Senior Dogs posted a very touching tribute on their Facebook page for a special senior pup named Stanley.
It just so happened that that perfect home belonged to a woman named Donna McMillan-Pettit, her family, and her other senior Lab Henry. They had recently lost their own senior black Lab named Wilson, so she knew without a doubt that this dog was meant to be in their lives. She hopped into the car, drove the FOUR hours to Columbus, and adopted him just one day after seeing his post.
Stanley (left) and Henry (right) quickly became the best of buds
Not long after bringing Stanley home, he unfortunately had a seizure. Donna took him to the vet, where an ultrasound found a mass on his spleen. Due to Stanley’s age, they made the decision not to put him through surgery or chemo, instead focusing on holistic medicine. They worked with a wonderful doctor that had him on herbal supplements to manage his health and he continued to be a happy pup that never left his mama’s side.
On June 1, 2016, Stanley suffered a second seizure that most likely caused his tumor to rupture. By the time Donna rushed him to the emergency vet, he was almost gone.
Though it was very painful to lose Stanley, Donna could only describe him as “her gift from God.” She wrote in a post for Susie’s Senior Dogs that:
“…He was the most grateful dog. We loved him deeply and will forever have a place in our hearts for him.”
Donna went on to relate the words given to her by a close friend and fellow rescuer. We would advise you to break out the tissues if you haven’t already.
Her friend wrote:
“I am so sorry for your loss. But I want to reiterate what I saw. I saw Stanley right after you brought him home, watching Henry like he was studying him. You taught that sweet boy how to be a dog. He didn’t know how to go for a walk. You took him on daily walks, sometimes more than once. He didn’t know how to play with toys. He didn’t know how to cuddle with a buddy, but you and Henry showed him. Remember the day Henry let him in his bed with him? Stanley didn’t know the beds were ok, until you showed him. He stared at you right into your eyes. Deep into your soul, like he couldn’t believe anyone could love him before you showed him that he was worthy. You told him constantly how loved he was and he knew it only because of you. This was all meant to be. Stanley was lost before you. He had no one. No love. You showed him in 9 months everything he and every dog deserve in life. It was all so meant to be. God works in mysterious ways. Again, I am so sorry for your loss. But so proud of you and so happy that you acted on your instinct, jumped up and drove 5 hours to get him. You knew in your heart and you didn’t second guess. That is not coincidence, that is nothing other than a calling. You were his and he was yours. You know this deep down inside. Like I know with Brown. And all the others we lost before them. I can’t help but be happy for him. I know your loss is great, but I feel kind of like rejoicing. This is how it’s meant to be. Love. It’s all about Love and Honor. You honored him and you always will. He was a special guy.”
Donna told Susie’s Senior Dogs that she couldn’t have written better words to describe their time with Stanley and the subsequent loss, and that she wanted to share them with all of their followers. She also shared this beautiful video as well.
“When we encourage senior dog adoption, Stanley’s story is exactly what we envision for all dogs — The Good Life until their very last breath. Stanley left this world as loved as he’ll ever be. Adopting a senior dog takes a different mindset, it’s more than just ‘getting a dog.’ Adopting a senior dog is about companionship, selflessness, love, and respect for an animal who has crossed your path for a reason.”
There are few pains greater than the loss of a beloved pet, and we share our sincerest condolences with Donna and her family.
We hope that those out there looking to get a dog will consider sharing their lives with a special senior like Stanley. Please follow Susie’s Senior Dogs on Facebook and Instagram to find your own senior friend to love and honor Stanley’s memory, or consider donating to their cause to help others like him find homes.