It takes a special kind of family to take in and care for a terminally ill dog, knowing that they have just mere months or even weeks before they have to say goodbye.
However, when dog lover Courtney Thomsen caught sight of a small, beautiful dog on the Humane Society of Texas Facebook page, she just knew she had to bring him home.
The dog was sadly in the last stages of heart worm disease, and the shelter warned potential adoptive owners he may have just a few weeks left to live.
The fluffy little chap had been abandoned at the shelter, dirty and in poor health. The shelter just wanted him to experience a loving, comfortable home at the end of his life.
Greatly moved by the post, kind Courtney contacted the Humane Society, knowing she didn’t have much time to consider her decision.
Speaking with The Dodo, Courtney said:
When I saw his photo on Facebook, I already felt an intense urge to scoop him up, but after reading through several comments saying things like, ‘I wish I could take him!’ I knew I had to get him,
I couldn’t stand the thought of him dying alone at the shelter and not knowing what it was like to be loved and be part of a real family.
Courtney was a little anxious after learning about the extent of her new pet’s health conditions, but when she met the sweet boy face to face, it was clear she had made the right decision.
When we showed up, they said he didn’t really seem to respond to [his name],
My 5-year-old son immediately said, ‘We can name him Taco!’ An employee called him Taco, and he went straight to her! So he was immediately renamed Taco.
And so it was that Taco was brought to his new home. However, there was still a little way to go before he could feel truly part of the family.
Courtney explained to The Dodo how Taco initially appeared ‘worried and unsure’ of his new surroundings, and so she set about trying to make him as happy as possible. And her admirable commitment paid off.
According to Courtney:
I spent so much time loving on him, cuddling him, talking to him and just anything I could think of to make him feel better,
Within a few days, Taco began to smile, and get excited about things. He started following me everywhere — so I started taking him everywhere.
Taco quickly came on in leaps and bounds, gaining weight and becoming more confident. He reportedly loves to be petted, and enjoys showing Courtney new tricks he has learned.
Although Taco hadn’t been toilet trained, he has proved to be a quick learner after copying the example of Courtney’s other – equally adorable – dogs.
Taco has already defied expectations, showing incredible improvements in terms of both his health and mood.
Indeed, aside from his coughing fits, sweet Taco is able to live the life of an ‘ordinary’ dog and has clearly blossomed into the beloved family pooch he was always meant to be. And Courtney has since shared some very happy news indeed….
Writing on Facebook, Courtney gave the following joyous update to those desperate to know what was next for this fluffy hero:
Obviously, I’ve fallen in love, and the thought of losing him has been horrible. I’ve been mad at myself at times for adopting him, knowing it would hurt, but I wouldn’t change a thing.
Which finally leads me to his update. He was coughing to the point of throwing up, and super lethargic. He didn’t seem interested in playing, and all he would do was lay on me. I called the vet, and spent the day holding him and crying and taking pictures fearing it would be his last.
So then I brought him, and as soon as we got in my car he started perking up. Then we got out and he started smiling. He humped the vet tech, ran all over the office, and confused the heck out of the vet when I tried explaining how lethargic he had been.
Taco had gained 4 pounds, surprised the vet with how much healthier he looked, and he told me at home Taco is playing me like a fiddle. He’s not lethargic, he’s lazy.
The healthier I can keep getting him, the more likely he will be strong enough for treatment. The vet said there’s a possibility Taco could have a few years left! So I went home with my lazy dog, and I’ve continued to love him like crazy. He’s currently sleeping next to me while I type this and we listen to Sam Cooke.
Isn’t it amazing what a little love can do?
Love is miraculous, dogs are angels, and I am currently blubbing like a baby…
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.