Ken was an 80-year-old retired guy and he pretty much kept to himself, he didn’t really mix with other neighbors, in fact, the neighbors say they hardly knew him at all, but they saw him walking his little dog called Zack…
Ken lived in a mobile home community in Hemet, California, and seemed to be pretty much a loner, apart from the obvious bond he seemed to have with his little doggie!
Neighbor Carol Burt says: – “I know quite a bit of people from walking dogs because I foster a lot …I had seen Ken with Zack a couple of times. He’s very quiet. Doesn’t say anything. Just kind of wave and we went on.”
About two weeks ago there was a real situation… It all started with a frantic banging at the door, the neighbor said to Burt that she needed to visit Ken and Zack, there was an emergency!
Burt said: – “Okay, let me finish dinner and I’ll go look…”
The neighbor insisted that it was too urgent and said:
“No, you need to go now …Go right now!”
Burt went to his mobile home as fast as possible, the 16 year-old-dog was really poorly…
Burt said that she remembers:
“Ken was in tears …He said, ‘I don’t know what to do. I have no money to take him to a vet’.”
The community, made up of senior didn’t have much money, to put together, especially considering the cost of emergency visits, so Burt decided to post to social media for help…
“When I was walking back to my house, I thought, ‘Well, I’ll just put it out on Facebook.'”
She thought that she may be able to get $50 maybe, or maybe even as much as $100 in donations. She figured she might be able to get $50 or even $100 in donations.
About one hour later Elaine Seamans, founder of the At-Choo Foundation called her, she is part of a rescue organization that helps out shelter dogs that need help.
“What are your plans for getting Zack to the vet?”
“Well, we’re going to go Monday morning.”
“No, you’re going to go tonight. I will cover all the medical expenses.”
Then Burt went back to her neighbor’s home and they got their coats on ready to go, they were off to the emergency animal hospital.
They arrived but quickly realized that Zack would not be going home with them…
“We lost him that night …He had so many, many issues going on with him.”
That night Ken really did lose a piece of himself, he cried so much, he could not stop, he held, for the last time, his beloved Zack.
“They were together alone …These two had not had any other companionship except each other for 16 years.”
During the emotional goodbye, Burt took a picture, she called it a quick snapshot, and it captured Ken’s moment of deep grief!
It was this image that would touch everyone that saw it, the sad moment he had to say goodbye to the love of his life, such a sad and tearjerking moment you can associate with so well.
Elaine at the Foundation posted the image to Facebook, she said:
“I thought, ‘Oh my God, we can relate to that grief …I wanted to send him a card and I wondered if other people would, too.”
He received countless cards and letters and offers of support, from all over the world, an artist even offered to paint the portrait of the pair, someone offered to pay for food for his next beloved dog, and a teacher had a whole class write letters of encouragement for him.
“So many people cared who he didn’t know and would never know …I am blown away by all of the people I am reaching on the foundation page.”
All the letters he received really made a huge difference and helped him in his grief, everyone that gave their support really touched him, how much they really cared.
“He was so overwhelmed by people sending cards who didn’t know him.”
Burt said that:
“He was crying for the loss of his dog and also crying because so many people cared who he didn’t know and would never know.”
In a very sad twist to the story the loss of Zack, in the end, seemed too much to bear and very sadly Ken died of a heart attack, but most would say he actually died of a broke, heart!
We hope that Zack and Ken are now happy together on the other side of the rainbow, rest in peace, Ken, and Zack!
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