Chester’s Final Journey – a rescue dog’s story

Chester with his foster mum, Nicole ElliotSeveral heart-warming stories about loving dog owners treating their terminal pets to a grand farewell have made the news recently. One was Neil Rodriguez from New York City who took his 16-year-old dog Poh on a seven-week, 12,000 mile bucket list trek across the country.

But another story hit especially close to home because this one involved a shelter dog. His name is Chester, a mixed breed with maybe a little miniature schnauzer in him. In April, he had been dropped off at a local animal shelter in Columbus, Georgia by Animal Control after being abandoned by his previous owners. In June, Animal Park Rescue posted to their Facebook page “Hospice needed!!” and featured Chester, a dog dying of cancer, who needed a foster home for his final weeks.

Chester before and after at the animal shelterNicole Elliot, 24, saw that post and decided after much soul searching, that she would be the one to give the ailing canine one “awesome final ride.”

She told WTVM News, “He wasn’t in the best shape. they bathed him and shaved away all of the matted, dirty hair. They found a very large tumor on his side, and had it removed. Since then they have shown up all over his body.”

Over the past few weeks, Nicole has documented the dog’s final days on her “Chester’s final journey” Facebook page. His adventures included a visit to a water stream, a hot dog lunch from Nathan’s restaurant, a shopping spree and a photo shoot to remember him by.

Chester from Columbus, Georgia, was able to enjoy his final journeyOn June 10th, Chester passed away. Nicole told ABC News, “I stayed with him all day and he passed in my arms. I just petted him and [was] telling him it was OK to let go.”

This story is especially meaningful to me because I work closely with rescues at Peaceable Kingdom Animal Shelter in Whitehall, PA.  Recently, I wrote an article highlighting the benefits of Adopting A Senior Dog. Though you may not be up to the challenge of taking home an animal requiring hospice care, there are so many dogs in need of a forever home at your local shelter. Whether they are young or old, healthy or feeble, the rewards will be many and I guarantee it will make your life richer in so many ways.

You can find an animal shelter close to you as well as “20 Questions to Ask Before You Foster A Dog” at Other resurces include and The Human Society.


Are Small Dogs Harder To Train Than Big Dogs?
Tips For Including A Dog In Your Wedding