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Neglected and left alone for nearly a decade, a dog, as she nears the end of her life, finds a spark of hope amidst years of abandonment

After her owner was deported, Josephine, also known as “Pheenie,” spent nine years abandoned and took sanctuary behind a shipping container in a junkyard. Her years of loneliness and deprivation were sustained by the little gifts from kind townspeople. But her health paid the price for neglect and adversity.

When Hope For Paws rescuers located Pheenie, she was an elderly dog who had suffered greatly in life. She had suffered through a lost eye, a spinal cord illness, dental problems, a urinary tract infection, and excruciating tumours. Pheenie’s spirit endured her pain.

Hope For Paws volunteers set out to save Pheenie from her lonely life. Pheenie felt a ray of hope despite the difficulties they were having since she knew that help had finally come at her lowest point. She hugged her rescuers with obvious appreciation, years of needing company and attention reflected in her eyes.

Bella, an old dog, lived a life of seclusion and neglect about ten years ago. Alone in a run-down backyard, she spent each day without the company and affection every dog is due. Her once-vibrant and lustrous fur had become matted and dingy; her once-active and eager soul had darkened into a shadow of its past. Bella’s life was a sobering monument to the suffering abandonment causes for an animal.

Bella’s body deteriorated daily as she neared the end of her life. Her eyesight and hearing darkened with age; arthritis tightened her joints, causing slow, painful movement. Long after the brightness in her eyes had faded, a resigned acceptance of her lonely lot took front stage. Bella’s narrative appeared to finish as it had for so many years—isolated and unwanted.


Bella, though, had other ideas about fate. Hopeful Paws, a nearby animal rescue group, discovered her predicament through a worried neighbour. Arriving at Bella’s house, the volunteers were outraged by the circumstances she had endured. They pulled her away from the depressing surroundings and straight forwardly transported her to their haven.

Bella was seen right away at Hopeful Paws. The vets cleaned her matted fur, medicated her arthritis, and attended to other years-neglected medical problems. Bella answered the care with surprising tenacity after years of suffering. Once dulled by neglect, her eyes started to shine as she felt compassion for the first time in years.

Bella was surrounded in the refuge by other rescue animals and kind people who lavished love and attention upon her. She delighted in the comfort of soft beds, the taste of good food, and the basic pleasure of human touch. Her days now consisted in mild walks, relaxing showers, and cosy sunbathing naps. Bella underwent nothing less than a miracle in change. Once looked to be resigned to her lonely fate, the elderly dog now waggled her tail in greeting and occasionally bark playfully.

Many people were moved by Bella’s story, and soon a devoted family stepped forward ready to provide her the lifetime home she was due. Her age or health problems did not stop them; they saw only the tender soul who had suffered so much yet still had so much love to offer.

Bella basked in the love of her new family during her last days. Her brief stay with them was full of the happiness and company she had been denied for so long. Once one of abuse and abandonment, Bella’s story became evidence of the transforming effect of compassion and hope.

Pheenie was saved and then put in a permanent foster home, where she got the affection and medical care she so much needed. She was sheltered from the adversities of her past for five priceless months in the warmth of a loving home on a large farm. Pheenie had suffered much in her life, but her last days were full with affection and consolation. I pray she finds comfort in knowing she was loved right up until the very end.

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