A Tribute to Henry

Henry’s story begins when he was originally adopted from a rescue after a first-time dog owner took pity on Henry and wanted to take him home. She soon realized that her lifestyle was not accommodating for a dog and contacted Our Companions to help Henry find a home. After arriving to the Sanctuary, Henry was quickly adopted to a loving family ready to give Henry the home and love he needed. However, soon after his adoption, Henry’s sight started to deteriorate. With Our Companions’ help and many vet visits later, Henry was eventually diagnosed with SARDS (Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration Syndrome). SARDS is a disorder that causes acute, unexpected blindness in dogs. Though it doesn’t cause any discomfort, it unfortunately causes permanent blindness. In Henry’s case, he practically went blind overnight. Due to his unanticipated sudden blindness, his newly adoptive family was not able to help Henry acclimate to his new life, therefore he was brought back to the Sanctuary to his OC family.

During Henry’s second arrival to the Sanctuary, staff wanted to ensure he was given all the support he needed to adjust to this sudden blindness. Generally, dogs that lose their sight do so over time and can adapt to being blind fairly well, especially considering the strength of their other senses. Since Henry lost his sight overnight, we couldn’t imagine how he was dealing with this newfound hardship. Still, despite the obstacles in the road, Henry didn’t seem to mind and kept trucking along like nothing ever happened. He would bump into things every so often, turn around, and kept moving and grooving through life. He enjoyed sniffing, strolling, and especially eating! To help him navigate during his walks, staff and volunteers would play music on their phones, which seemed to be a fun activity for both parties. After a short while, Henry caught the eye of an older gentleman wanting to have a companion and friend to spend his life with. They were a match made in heaven and Henry started the next chapter of his life in a new home.

About four years later, in early 2019, we were contacted by this same gentleman seeking help for our dear old friend. Henry was about 12 years old, underweight, and dealing with severe pancreatitis. His owner was also getting older and his ability to care and love for Henry was starting to diminish. He reached out to Our Companions in a plea for help to accept Henry back so that he can once again receive the love and care he rightfully deserved. Without hesitation, Henry arrived to the Sanctuary for the third time.

At this time, Henry’s mental and physical health needed much improvement. He was not only underweight and dealing with gastrointestinal issues, he was constantly walking around in circles, seeming more confused than ever before. With his older age, both his hearing and sense of smell was also dwindling and it was difficult to determine how we could help Henry be happy once again. Staff worked diligently to give constant care and right routine to help Henry feel better. After figuring out his diet and medication, we noticed he absolutely love sniffing, taking long walks outside, and even bathing in the sun. It was a wonderful sight to see such Henry so at peace, cuddled in the grass, soaking up the warmth of the sun. Over time, we noticed Henry was gaining strength and reaching out farther and farther at the Sanctuary was surprisingly walking in straight lines, seeming to find more awareness with his surroundings. To help Henry explore greater distances, staff and volunteers would “chauffeur” Henry in a pet stroller to the play yards where he would enjoy the shade and new smells in a different scenery.

Henry was thriving and we were so happy to be able to provide him a wonderful opportunity to live his life to the fullest. It was much to our surprise when we discovered he had prostate cancer, especially since he didn’t seem to show any signs of discomfort or slowing down anytime soon. He had a few bad days during the last couple months of his life, but those good days were the absolute best seeing him still carry on, nose to the ground, without a care in the world. Staff kept a close eye on Henry, administering subcutaneous fluids and medications, to make sure he was able to live without pain until the time had come. It was certainly difficult to say goodbye to such an old friend. Henry passed away in the arms of his friends, being told how much of a lovely, sweet boy he was. From his very first day at the Sanctuary, to his very last, we’re happy we were able to provide Henry a home full of love and a friendship to last a lifetime.