Theo, a senior shelter dog, was diagnosed with terminal cancer and looking for a loving foster home to spend the rest of his days.
The 12-year-old dog was found abandoned in a Walmart parking lot and taken in by animal control. The senior dog was never claimed so BAARK Dog Rescue in Barrington, Illinois, took him in and contacted a longtime foster, Jenny Leech.
Leech loves helping seniors and special needs dogs and happily agreed to take Theo home. The sweet and happy boy joined her pack of 10 other rescue dogs, including two other hospice fosters.
Leech took Theo to her local pet store for a bath and a collar with a name tag. However, Theo was drawn to a teal octopus toy and seeing the joy it brought to the senior dog, Leech purchased it. She said it was “The best $5.99 I have ever spent.”
Every day since then Theo hasn’t let his beloved octopus out of his sight. Wherever he goes he brings his octopus and even sleeps with it. He recently took it on a trip to the park but made sure to bring it home safe.
While some days are better than others for Theo, he always perks up when he sees his octopus. “Theo had a rough morning and was struggling a bit. Thankfully he perked up enough to walk with Octopus and get some ice cream,” posted Leech.
She wanted to be sure that Theo always had an octopus toy to play with and began to search for a backup. She wrote, “looking for a spare for Theo’s beloved Octopus toy as a ‘just in case’ it gets trashed back up. Pictures for proof of how much he loved his baby and how raggedy it was looking in just 2 weeks are included.”
She went on to say, “He absolutely adores his Octopus, takes it everywhere and has little or no interest in other toys.”
However, she never expected to receive a box full of them from the same foundation, Live Like Roo Foundation, that covered the cost of his diagnostic testing. “Ten Octopi arrived today from our friends at Live Like Roo for my special boy. To say he was happy and proud was an understatement,” she said.
The gentle dog nudged and grabbed a few of his new toys as the tentacles crinkled in his mouth. He posed for a photo with a big smile surrounded by all his toys.
Theo’s love of toys is heartwarming, especially for a senior dog. Most seniors are not interested in toys, but it just proves that Theo is still young at heart. While Leech is unsure how long she has with Theo, he will spend the rest of his days surrounded by his favorite octopus.
His love of life has inspired other people to enjoy the little things, including his foster mom. “In just 3 short weeks as my hospice foster, Theo has captured my heart and the hearts of many others with his strength, spirit and ability to be happy despite how bad things might seem. Here’s to more days for Theo to enjoy and love his Octopus babies.”
Andrea Powell is an animal enthusiast that resides in West Michigan. When not writing, she is exploring the great outdoors with her dogs and horses.
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