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Canine Cancer Survivor Becomes Therapy Dog to Man With Alzheimer’s

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Animal Rescue Story: Ernest Finds a Forever Home

Our first senior dog rescue was 11 years old when we adopted him. I shook my head and told my husband, “He’ll break our hearts.”

My husband looked at me and said, “But he needs us.”

So, we adopted the sad, skin-and-bones Golden Retriever, named him Brooks, and fell in love with him. And sure enough, he broke our hearts—but not before filling them with love and joy.

Brooks helped us find our mission—to give a loving home to abandoned senior Goldens. We’ve loved and lost a few. Then in May 2017, our rescue group contacted us about a 9-year-old Golden who lived in deplorable conditions. Did we want him? We’d just lost two senior dogs. Could we open our hearts up to such pain again?

The answer was clear.

They brought us the old dog who’d lived his life mostly in a cage. His previous owner was glad to get rid of him. The once-pent-up dog could barely contain himself as he charged into our house, his thick red fur a filthy mess. We pulled at least six ticks off of him. But we know the moment we saw him, he was ours. We named him Ernest.

For the first few months, Ernest so craved human touch that he just wanted to be petted, all the time. We obliged. We told him that he was safe—and loved.

Only four months after we got him, and halfway through his training to become a therapy dog, he was diagnosed with cancer. He had surgery, completed his training and passed his therapy dog test.

Now a full-fledged therapy dog, Ernest works with a man with Alzheimer’s and visits local college students. I think he could sit and be petted all day. He’s our best gift ever—one who will someday break our hearts, true—but right now is filling them with so much love and joy.


By: Chewy Influencer Peggy Frezon.

You can follow Peggy and Ernest’s adventures on her blog.