Rescue Tails / Shelby

Contributed by FKSPCA Staff

At 13 years old, Shelby’s frail body was thin and riddled with cancer. Her face gray from aging. She was taking one last ride on a dinghy to land, and it was the last time she was going to see her Dad. Sadly, her dads health was failing and he was no longer caring for himself, or Shelby. As he waited for the ambulance ride to the mainland, his only request was that our Marathon Campus do whatever was necessary for Shelby.

If love was all that Shelby needed, than she wouldn’t be in the condition she was. Having never been spayed she developed large mammary cancer masses. Mammary cancers represent 50% of all cancers in unaltered female animals, and can only be prevented by being spayed. Her cancer was far too advanced for surgery, and Shelby was too old and sick to try. There was only one thing that could be done for Shelby, and that was to make her as happy and as comfortable as possible for however many days she had left.

Fostering is hard. We ask our fosters keep a shelter animal in their home, and love them as their own, and then let them go, typically to their adoptive home. Fosters range from keeping young kittens and puppies safe and fed until they’re old enough to be adopted, having medical patients in their home that need a little extra care, or sometimes in case of emergencies such as an impending storm. The hardest fosters, are what we call hospice fosters.

A hospice foster accepts a shelter animal into their home and heart knowing that they will pass, and not knowing when. I can say with confidence every pet owner fears the day they lose their loving companion. So asking someone to take on the role of loving family to a dying pet, is truly a gift.

I first met Lesley during COVID when she offered to foster for our Marathon Campus. We quickly developed a special relationship when she took in a heartworm positive senior pit bull named Juju. Lesley dedicated her time with Juju to not only ensuring he was kept safe and healthy during his treatment but even found his adopter, a neighbor who fell in love with Juju while with Lesley.

So, when I reached out to Lesley and discussed Shelby’s situation, it was without hesitation that she said yes. Shelby is now safe and comfortable in her retirement home. She is receiving all the love, attention, affection and care until it’s her time to cross the rainbow bridge. Although rare, cases like Shelby’s do happen from time to time. For those that can’t be adopted due to health issues, we’re grateful for very special people like Lesley that provide them one last home.

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