Dying Homeless Dog’s ‘Best Last Day’

For just one day, a homeless dog named Hippo enjoyed unconditional love from a compassionate new “mom” who treated him to his best last day. In mid-October, Hippo, an obviously ailing Shar-Pei, was taken in at Colorado’s Adams County Animal Shelter as a stray.

According to 19-year-old Sophiane Nacer, founder of Cayleb’s Kindred Senior Dog Rescue, Hippo was held for the mandatory five-day stray hold and it was “obvious” that nobody was coming to get him. On October 17, one day before Hippo’s arrival at the senior dog rescue, Nacer wrote sorrowful words about the stray dog’s pitiful condition:

In times like these, words fail me. This dog is suffering. Probably has been for a very long time. His face is so deformed that he cannot eat or drink. It’s unthinkable that his previous “family” (and I truly hesitate to call them that, even in skeptical quotation marks) not only let him get to this point, but then dumped him once he was.

Though it was apparent that Hippo was beyond saving, Nacer chose to take him in. She explained, “No dog deserves to die without a home, without a family, without love, and without a name.”

Nacer set out to give Hippo something that his former owner did not – one last day full of good things. On Hippo’s last day, he enjoyed riding in a car with the wind whipping at his face, a Starbuck’s puppucino in the park, exploring and making a few new dog friends, and drinking cool water from a lake.

After five hours of glorious time outside, Hippo made it known that he was tired…very tired. After enjoying one final chicken dinner, a veterinarian who provides in-home euthanasia released Hippo from his failing body.

After Hippo’s passing, Nacer described sweet Hippo to Shelter Me:

“Hippo was an incredible dog. Despite all of his health issues, he was very engaged and gentle. He was the kind of dog who would walk up to you quietly, and stand with his head next to yours, just happy to be near someone.”

She added:

“I wish I had been able to spend more time with him, I can only imagine how wonderful it would have been to love him longer.”

Cayleb’s Kindred Senior Dog Rescue was founded by Nacer when she was just 13 years of age. Nacer told Shelter Me that the rescue group has been operating for about five years and they are nearing the milestone of 100 dogs rescued.

Find the rescue group’s website at this link.

Follow the good work of Cayleb’s Kindred Senior Dog Rescue at this link to Facebook.

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Penny Eims

Penny is a freelance writer who provided content to her National Dog News column at Examiner.com for 8 years. She is a current contributor to Fido Friendly Magazine, as well as a newly formed website, Pet Rescue Report. Penny is married and she has two rescued German shepherds and two kids.


  1. Dwain Boaz says:

    He deserved so much better of a 2 legged parent. I am so glad that he was given his last day where he felt the kind of Love that our 4 legged kids give to us. It is so true that our 4 legged kids, they give so much more Love than there are given in return.
    Thank you for giving him that day.

  2. nicki says:

    You gave him a day’s worth of love & sounds like it was a great day. I truly can’t imagine dumping our dog due to illness even disfigurement. I wish you could have spent more time with him. Thank you so much for give him a good day 7 loving him all they way to the end

  3. Jen Reising says:

    BLESS YOU soooo Much for making Hippo feel loved…… We need more rescues like you!
    Thank You!

  4. suzanne says:

    Your story made me cry.I used to volunteer at a shelter during the high kill days of the 90’s.The staff would tell me who was on the list that day and I would take them out ,one at a time to enjoy a bit of love.I’d walk them,brush their coats and tell them they would stay in my heart forever.They are all still there.

  5. Judy Singer says:

    Thank you so much for loving and caring for him. R.I.P. Hippo. ❤️😢

  6. Cheryl Moss says:

    R.I.P. Beautiful boy..😢😢😢 I’m so glad that you were giving the chance to know what real love. I just wish that you had so much more.. This breaks my heart 💔💔💔 that “human,” can be so damn cruel. All these beautiful animals want us to be loved… If you can’t give at least 15 years to them. Of unconditional Love and understanding. Then Don’t get one.. They are living breathing and feel pain just like you or I.

  7. Nadia says:

    RIP Hippo would have loved to have meet you when there was something that could have been done to heal you and loved you 😞 shame on the people who did that to you shame on them 😒

  8. Ralf Lenhard says:

    Run free precious HIPPO. I am very sad about your fate.

  9. Margaret Thompson says:

    R.I.P. be happy over the rainbow.

  10. Val says:

    Deserving of so much and failed by the human race . Thank you for giving this heartbreaking lovely boy a very special day. I hope he forgives us . Bless his big heart

  11. Lisa Blanck says:

    lovely memorial for a dog who deserved so much better from life.

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