Marines know that once you’re a Marine, you’re always a Marine. It’s that way for service dogs. They do what they are trained to do.
Even if their circumstances change, their job doesn’t. Their heart doesn’t.
It was that way for one Staffordshire Terrier in Austin, Texas. Ladybird had been trained as a service dog. She ended up caring for a woman who suffered from narcolepsy and epileptic seizures.
The pair were quite bonded, but when the woman lost her job and eventually her home, the two ended up on the street.
Ladybird never stopped caring for her partner. It didn’t matter that there was no longer a bed to sleep in. She didn’t care that there wasn’t always enough food.
She had a job to do, and she did it. With a happy smiling terrier face and a wagging tail.
“This dog eventually took care of her, was her only family and pulled her wheelchair,” a friend of Ladybird’s owner, Sharon Henderson told FOX7 Austin.
Then Ladybird’s partner got sicker. The two went to a shelter situation where the woman could get a bit better care.
She made a plea to Henderson and another woman, that they knew as “Miss Jane,” to please promise that when she died they would take care of Ladybird.
The two solemnly promised. They had become very attached to both the woman and to Ladybird. They were quite impressed with Ladybird’s devotion, happy personality, and her care-giving talents.
One night, the woman went to sleep and didn’t wake up. A neighbor in the shelter contacted a man that they knew wanted Ladybird and told him he should come immediately to get her.
By the time the two women who had promised to care for Ladybird in the event of her owner’s death were advised of the situation, Ladybird was gone.
They filed reports, put up posters, all begging for the return of Ladybird. But, there was no sign of her. Ladybird was indeed, really gone.
A year went by and they heard that the man had been seen in Portland, Oregon, which was 1700 miles away. He had hitch-hiked there, with “his” dog, they were told.
The women explained to police officers and shelters in the area to be on the lookout for the man and Ladybird. They would do whatever necessary to get her returned to them.
They were heartbroken to hear that the man had passed away, and no one knew what had happened to “his” dog.
Then, one day they got a call from a shelter, following up on the microchip information found on a very sick stray dog. It was Ladybird!
But, a very different Ladybird than the robust, happy, healthy animal that had cared so diligently for the woman that they had known.
This Ladybird weighed only 30 pounds. She was going deaf. A tumor that required surgery had been ignored.
“She hadn’t eaten in so long, she had no jaw muscles. Her head muscles had atrophied and she couldn’t even chew.”
“Her ribs were sticking out and she couldn’t even go up two stairs without falling backward,” Henderson said.
None of that mattered. The important thing was that Ladybird was found!
They arranged for a foster situation for Ladybird until they could figure out how to get her the 1700 miles back home.
Their hearts saddened at the thought of all that Ladybird had endured in the 3 years since they’d seen her last.
“It must have been horrendous for her,” Henderson said sadly.
Eventually, Ladybird regained enough strength to make the long trip back to the Lone Star State. The reception when she arrived was full of smiles and tears and happy tail wags.
Both “Miss Jane” and Henderson were overjoyed to see their friend again.
“I want her to enjoy the rest of her life in the lap of luxury she’s never known and have a family,” Henderson said.
Source: Fox News