When the Animal Control Center found Lucy, who was surrendered as a stray, she had worms, fleas, was severely underweight—and was covered with visable tumors. "She was a hot mess," says Maya Weinstein, her foster mom and a volunteer for Foster Dogs NYC. "I saw a picture of her and I just knew she was my dog."
Weinstein isn't any dog foster mom, though: she works through Foster Dogs' "Fospice" program, which places terminally ill or senior shelter dogs in a loving home before they pass away. "Whether they have one day or one year to live, it gives them a second chance to these old friends who need a little love at the end of their life."
It sounds devastatingly difficult, especially for pet parents who know how tough it is to lose a pup, but Weinstein swears that's not the case for her—at least not anymore. After she lost her first dog, Zion, she says she couldn't get out of bed for two weeks: "She was my soul mate," she says. "I thought it can't get any harder than that. In her honor, I wanted to remember her by taking care of other senior dogs."
Lucy is Weinstein's second fospice pup, and she's making sure the Husky-German Shepherd mix is living her best life: despite her denerative myelopathy, a condition that slowly causes paralysis, she's sleeping on a Posturpedic mattress for pups, singing (slash howling) her favorite tunes, and enjoying lots of chin scratches.
And, of course, she's "eating like a queen." Weinstein saw the difference fresh, healthy meals could make in Zion, and believes it prolonged her life for a few years. And she's seen the difference it has made with Lucy, already: "It's really helped with weight management, which is important with older dogs because they have a harder time moving around," she says. "The real food is easier for them to chew, it makes them more energetic and in a better mood." Plus, Lucy is obsessed with the taste. "When I take it out of the fridge, she starts howling at me!"
Lucy may only have a few more months left, but she's making the absolute best of it with Maya—they even got kicked out of a coffee shop because Lucy was howling so loud out of happiness. "She's as healthy as she can be," says Weinstein.
To learn more about Foster Dogs NYC Fospice program and how you can get involved, go to their site.