By Janet McAfee
A sweet senior black Labrador who walked 30 miles to the home of her former owner, only to be turned away, is now living in style after a private airplane transported her to a Florida mansion. Lady had several strikes against her as she languished at the Chautauqua County shelter in Sedan, Kansas. Her owner passed away in 2012 without a plan for a new home. She was a senior dog, and older dogs have a harder time finding homes. She was black, and black dogs have a more difficult time getting noticed and adopted.
Luck seemed to be on Lady’s side when she was finally adopted by a young family. However, things changed two years later when they felt she did not do well with their small puppy, and Lady was returned to the shelter.
This summer, Lady was adopted by a second family in Independence, Kansas. But Lady couldn’t stop thinking about her previous family. She escaped from the home in Independence, and undertook a ‘Homeward Bound’ journey traveling 30 miles back to the first young family with the puppy. Suffering from arthritis, no one knows how she physically made the trip, let alone navigated the highways and back roads. Sadly, neither family now wanted the dog and Lady ended up at the shelter for the third time.
The story about Lady’s 30 mile journey went viral on Facebook with over 7,000 shares. The loyalty and perseverance of this dog touched the hearts of animal lovers around the country. Imagine how the loving memories in her heart inspired the dog to keep going. A local television station came out to film Lady and her plight. Shelter worker, Kelsey Lloyd, reported to KCTV, “She’s a super dog, very gentle and calm. If I had to pick out a dog, this would be the dog I would take.”
Lady’s plight caught the attention of Helen Rosburg, Wrigley gum heiress, who recently lost a senior black lab. An ardent animal lover, Rosburg uses a portion of her inheritance to help abandoned animals. She built a 120-acre farm in Odessa, Florida which houses over 300 rescue animals (www.onthewingsofangels.com). A staff of 15 people care for them, including a dog trainer. Many of the animals are adopted out from the sanctuary. Last week Rosburg sent her private plane to Kansas to retrieve Lady, and the grateful dog wagged her tail as she boarded and enjoyed the view from the air, instinctively trusting that better days were ahead
Helen Rosburg (AKA Helen Rich) posted a photo on Facebook of her with Lady and commented, “Everyone, please stop worrying. This precious girl is coming to live with me. My assistant is flying to pick her up. I’m currently out of town, but my arms will be around her on Saturday. She will never be scared or lonely again.” Lady now leads a pampered life living inside Rosburg’s 10,000 square foot home with several other rescued dogs and cats.
We love happy endings that involve a dog, and this story has a Cinderella ending for Lady. Many other wonderful middle aged and senior dogs wait at shelters with love in their hearts and dreams of a second chance home. A senior dog may be the best choice if you are seeking a calm animal and one that is most likely house trained. With so many dogs living to the ripe age of 17 or 18 years, you will have many wonderful years ahead when you adopt a 10-yr-old pup.
The Coachella Valley Animal Campus at 72-050 Pet Land Place in Thousand Palms, our local Riverside county shelter, has fabulous animals of all ages. ‘Dog Days of Summer’ special adoption rate is only $40. View their adoptable dogs and cats at www.rcdas.org, or call (760) 343-3644. Need help navigating the shelter system or selecting that new best friend? Contact me at Loving All Animals (760) 834-7000.