When Ashley Niels got the devastating news that her 12-year-old dog Spunky was dying from cancer and that she had to put him to sleep, Niels remembered an important promise she made to Spunky.
Ashley Niels thought her 12-year-old dog seemed healthy, until she received some devastating news. Neils tells The Dodo that on Thursday morning of last week, Spunky didn’t want his breakfast. “He always inhales his food so I knew something was off,” Niels said.
During a trip to the vet, it was revealed that Spunky had hemangiosarcoma, which is a type of cancer that has caused him to bleed internally. Sadly, chemotherapy and surgery wouldn’t help Spunky. The vet “told me how sorry she was and that since we didn’t want him to suffer, we should schedule an appointment to have him put to sleep,” Niels said.
Niels reluctantly scheduled an appointment for Spunky to be euthanized for the following evening, and then she remembered the promise she made to her winter-loving dog. Niels couldn’t bare to think of Spunky dying before he could see snow one last time. Spunky is originally from Wisconsin, and Niels adopted him from a local shelter when she was in college. The two lived their for four years, before moving to Austin, Texas.
It is there that Niels works as a behavior enrichment specialist at Austin Animal Center, but sadly, there hasn’t been snow there for many years. A group of volunteers at Austin Animal Center heard about Spunky’s diagnosis, and they all pitched in to rent a snow machine so he could enjoy one last day of snow. They brought it over to Niel’s house and Spunky was able to enjoy a man-made snowstorm in his very own yard.
“To be honest, I think Spunky mostly sat there in the blowing ‘snow’ to humor me and make me happy,” Niels said. “But the real beauty behind the whole thing was how this entire village enveloped us in love, and pulled all of this together in hours so that I could give my boy a last wish, if you will. I can’t tell you how touched I was,” she continued.
The following day, Niels was supposed to bring Spunky into the vet, but the vet had to reschedule for the following day due to an emergency. But when the following morning arrived, Niels couldn’t go through with it. She says that Spunky seemed happy and she didn’t want to take that away from him.
In the past few days, Spunky has been spending time with his friends, and just enjoying life.
Plus, the snow machine had some time before it needed to be returned, so the other shelter dogs at AAC got to enjoy the snow too.
While Niels doesn’t know how much longer Spunky has, she feels grateful for the time she has gotten. “His love is the purest, most unconditional love there is,” Niels says. And as far as what the kind people at AAC did for Spunky: “How beautiful is it that a group of people made it snow in the Texas summer?” she says. “All for the love of a dog. My dog. My Spunky.”
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[Featured Image Credit: Ashley Niels/Facebook]