LOXAHATCHEE GROVES, Fla. — This is a story that will tug at your heart, break your heart and warm your heart all at the same time.
Dax is a 20-year-old Weimaraner whose life was turned upside down when the owner he'd known for nearly two decades surrendered him to a shelter.
Older dogs at shelters are often the last to be adopted and the first to be euthanized, so the odds were already stacked against Dax. Thankfully, fate intervened when the rural shelter asked for help and Big Dog Ranch Rescue in Florida agreed to take him.
"It is unfathomable to think about a loving loyal 20-year-old senior dog, at the end of his life span, given up and left confused and heartbroken," they posted on TikTok.
According to its website, Big Dog Ranch Rescue is the largest no-kill, cage-free shelter in the nation and they've saved over 50,000 dogs since 2008. They also travel around the country to save animals after natural disasters, including hurricanes and the 2021 Arctic freeze in Texas.
Big Dog's dedicated staff welcomed Dax with plenty of TLC and the medical team on their 33-acre campus gave the old fella a thorough exam. He has some trouble with his hind legs so Love4Paws, another Florida non-profit, helped raise money to get Dax some wheels for longer journeys.
"He is incredibly sweet and just wants to be loved, but we can tell he is heartbroken," Love4Paws posted on Facebook. One of their board members also agreed to foster Dax until a forever home could be found.
After seeing his story on TikTok, offers to adopt Dax began pouring into Big Dog Ranch and that led to the final chapter in this story.
Last week, BDRR delivered Dax to his forever family where he seemed very happy to meet his new mom and four-legged siblings. With tail wagging happily, he explored his new digs before hopping up on the couch for a nap alongside the other dogs.
Thanks to donations, Dax has a new orthopedic bed, lots of toys, food, medicines and other supplies to start his new life. BDRR also agreed to pay for Dax's medical care for the rest of his life.
The rescue group hopes Dax's story serves as a reminder to other potential pet owners.
Dax likely wouldn't have lived far beyond his average life expectancy if he hadn't received good care from his previous owners. BDRR told us they don't know the circumstances behind Dax's surrender and it's possible so owners had a valid reason.
Before you adopt any pet, please be sure you're prepared to give them the care they deserve for as long as they live.
"They are not just dogs — they are our children and our family members who love us unconditionally and remain forever loyal, asking for little in return," the spokesperson said.
BDRR recently opened another location in Alabama and they told us they have their eyes on Texas for a future spot.