24-year-old Nicole Elliot of Columbus, Georgia has a passion for rescuing animals. While scrolling the Facebook page of Animal Ark Rescue she saw a photo of Chester, a senior rescue dog suffering from terminal cancer and in need of a loving home for his final days. Nicole didn’t wait. The next day, June 27, she went straight to the shelter and brought Chester home with her.
Chester had already been rescued once, from a high-kill shelter in April after he was surrendered by his previous owners. Animal Ark Rescue took the sick dog in and began looking to place him in a forever home, knowing that Chester’s forever was quickly coming to an end.
Veterinarians knew he was very ill, but were unsure about how much time he had left. The dog has a huge tumor on top of his head, and other tumors have started to appear.
None of that mattered to Nicole, who told Good Morning America that “they brought him out to me and I fell in love with him.”
She decided to do a “bucket list” of little adventures Chester could enjoy in whatever time he has left. She says that he’s playful at times, but his age and the cancer have slowed him down.
Elliot is documenting their adventures on a Facebook page she created for him in hopes it brings awareness to sick and elderly animals that have a lesser chance of finding homes before they die. She believes that all animals deserve a chance at a happy life and is determined to make Chester’s final days the best they can be, despite his grave illness.
Right away, she began Chester’s final journey with a visit to a water stream – he liked it! They followed up with a hot dog lunch from Nathan’s restaurant (Chester still loves to eat) and a shopping spree for new toys, a bed, and other special treats. Nicole hopes there will be time and Chester will feel well enough for other planned activities including a boat ride and a visit to the beach. A professional photographer has already taken pictures of him – something Nicole wants to have for after he’s gone.
Chester may have just hours, days, or weeks left, but a strong bond has already been formed. Nicole says that while “so many people say that animals don’t have souls like humans, anybody who meets Chester can see he does have a soul. He’s already fallen in love with me and follows me everywhere.”
It will be difficult, but when Chester’s last best days are over Nicole plans to continue adopting sick and elderly animals in hopes of bringing some deserved happiness into their lives.
If you would like to adopt a dog visit your local animal shelter or rescue group, or CLICK HERE to see our DogTime adoption section!