Victoria the dog has had a very difficult and often distressing life, but two kind humans are determined to ensure her final days are filled with joy.
The 11-year-old German Shepherd began life in a puppy mill, and over the next decade would be used irresponsibly as a breeding machine.
Victoria birthed approximately 18 litters in her years at the puppy mill, and delivered around 100 to 200 puppies in total.
In her younger days, poor Victoria was viscously attacked by another dog. She never received treatment for her wound, resulting in her sight being damaged in her left eye.
In 2017, Victoria began suffering from Degenerative Myelopathy – a disease which led her body into decline – is a progressive disease of the spinal cord, usually found in older dogs.
After having her body being pushed to its limits, neglected Victoria reached her later years completely exhausted.
She could no longer be used for breeding, and was finally rescued by Finding Shelter Animal Rescue in October 2017.
Now confined to a wheelchair and facing the final months of her life, the charity’s co-founder, Grace Kelly Herbert, along with her husband Steve, are committed to bringing Victoria the sort of happiness which should have been her right from puppyhood.
The caring couple, from Pennsylvania, USA, put together a fun-filled bucket list for Victoria, full of adventures and positive experiences for her to try out before passing on.
So far, Victoria has been a busy lady. The sweet pooch has worked as a police K-9 for a day, led a fire department parade, and been for runs on the beach. She’s even spent a day helping out a local DJ at a radio station.
The DJ played a game where he put cookies over the names of each song. Whichever cookie Victoria ate first, that was the song that was chosen to play.
Victoria’s condition is declining rapidly and so strenuous tasks are unfortunately beyond her capabilities.
However, the beautiful girl still has so much to enjoy in the world, which has sadly only just opened up to her.
According to Grace:
Terminally-ill dogs like Victoria are worth saving. They still have life left in them. She is a wonderful dog. She is so loyal and friendly, and she has a lot of love to give.
If we’re lucky, she’ll last until the end of the year. Everyday is a gift with her.
I said to my husband, ‘Imagine all of the things she could have done in the past ten years if she’d have been a dog that was free.’
She’s stronger and happier than ever before. Its about turning something negative into a positive.
Incredibly, Victoria is also using her remaining time left on earth to contribute towards scientific advancements, which’ll help other dogs suffering from her condition.
She is participating in a Cornell University study which examines the effects of Degenerative Myelopathy in dogs, in order to try to improve treatment.
Victoria is one of the key dogs in the study. Because of the bucket list, her very broken body is giving back.
Thanks to two wonderful human beings, Victoria will reach the end of her life knowing she was loved; having made some very happy and special memories.
If only all dogs born into puppy farms could have the same chance in life.
You can find out more about Victoria and her bucket list here.
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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.