As hard as rescue organizations and shelters work to help stray animals, not all of them can be saved. This was a heartbreaking reality Janine Guido, founder of Speranza Animal Rescue, had to face when she met a dog named Watson.
A college student had found the emaciated pit bull alone in a Philadelphia park before taking him to an emergency vet. There were infected sores all over the pup’s body. He also had a cancerous tumor on his hind leg. Unfortunately, not much could be done for him, as the cancer had spread.
From there, he was transferred to the shelter, where staff did their best to make him as comfortable as possible in his final days.
“I had a gut feeling that things weren’t going to be good the next day,” Guido told the Dodo. “I didn’t want to leave him alone. Not when he needed me the most.” That’s why she resolved to stay by Watson’s side, gathering blankets and dog beds and lying down with him in the laundry room. There she spent the night, cuddling with him the whole time as he slept in her arms.
“He slept like a rock all night, cuddled up to me so tight,” Guido said. “I cried myself to sleep, and woke up in tears as well.”
That morning, Watson stopped eating and drinking. He began pacing in circles as well, and Guido knew he didn’t have much longer. He passed away shortly after. Heartbreaking as his death was, Guido is very grateful she was able to help him experience love and affection — possibly for the first time.
“I’m just so thankful I was able to hold him tight for his last night,” Guido said. “I was telling him how much he was loved — and that his life mattered. My heart is breaking, but I would not change a thing.”