Smokey walked through the doors of Washoe County Animal Services with a sad face. This pup was found as a stray once more, and in need of a true forever home at 12-years-old. Working at Nevada Humane Society, you hear about beloved pets through the years. Smokey’s name began echoing through the halls, “He’s back again, and he looks so discouraged.” I had never met Smokey, so I wanted to meet the boy that our team seemed to adore so much.
I walked into his kennel, and he gently lifted his head, snuggling closer for some scratches behind the ear. I immediately fell in love. That is when I learned that upon arrival; our Clinic Team found that he had stage-three lymphoma. It had progressed far too aggressively to take medical action, but we knew from his positive spirit that he still had a few great months to live. Our new goal was to find him a loving hospice foster home.
Week after week, Smokey watched as the young pups around him went to their forever homes. He patiently waited, soaking in all the love from our staff and volunteers. That is when our Marketing Team stepped in to share his story.
When Kirsty saw Smokey’s photo on her Facebook page, she felt an immediate connection stating, “it was truly love at first sight.” At the time, Kirsty was fostering a litter of five puppies, and she knew she needed to give Smokey the calm environment he deserved. After the puppies were big enough for adoption, she dropped them off to find loving homes at our shelter. She wondered if Smokey was still searching for a hospice foster. Sure enough, he was still available. Kirsty knew that it was meant to be and took him home that same day.
She was amazed with how quickly he fit in to her home and bonded with her family, who lovingly refer to him as “Old Man.” “He is so attached to me. Wherever I go, he follows. I can’t believe I have only had him for three short months, it really feels like he has been in our family for years. He absolutely adores our boxer, Leila. They often cuddle up together in the same bed.” – Kirsty, Smokey’s Foster.
Smokey has been in and out of our shelter for years, he never knew stability until he met Kirsty. Their bond is truly remarkable. Kirsty brought Smokey to see our staff and volunteer team a few weeks ago, dressed in a very handsome bow-tie collar. She stated that she knew his health was declining at a more rapid pace, and our team could tell he was moving much slower.
Watching his health shift has been very challenging for Kirsty and her family as they have become so attached to him. Being a hospice foster is not easy, but she knows she is truly making a difference in improving Smokey’s quality of life in his final months. While his health has declined due to his lymphoma, one thing had improved. His eyes are no longer sad and hopeless, they are filled with happiness. He has finally found his forever home.
After this story was completed, Kirsty called us with some sad news. On November 27, 2021 Smokey peacefully crossed the rainbow bridge with his loved ones by his side.
By: Megan McCalister, Events & Volunteer Manager