Rio will be getting her forever home even though she is terminally ill. She survived Super Storm Sandy just to be displaced and then it was determined that she had a life-threatening illness. This wonderful dog ended up at the right place at the right time though, at the super duper Helen Woodward Animal Center (HWAC) in Rancho Santa Fe, California.
It is with joyful hearts that this awesome animal rescue organization located her final forever home for her. Rio will be united with her new family on Monday, August 26th between 10:30 and 11:30 a.m.
Rio is only five-year old black Retriever blend but is terminally ill with lung cancer. Last week, HWAC officials sent out a plea for her so that she could be in a home, loved, before crossing the Rainbow Bridge.
Rio is such a sweet-faced doggie that only has months to live. Over the past few days there has been an overwhelming display of kindness and compassion from animal loving dog applicants across the country wanting to give Rio her wish. On Monday her wish will be granted and this special rescue will finally rest her paws in a home of her very own.
Just as she did with the staff at Helen Woodward, Rio is certain to make an imprint on the hearts of her new family. When she arrived, Rio was desperate to play with the other dogs at the Center. The only reason that she would ever slow down, was due to her compromised lung function that is based on the growing cancerous masses in her lungs and near her heart base.
Requiring supervision throughout the day, Rio – known to gently “kiss” cats, dogs and humans alike – spent the last few weeks living part-time at the home of a Center adoption technician and part-time at the Center facility. Despite the staff’s reticence to see her go, all agreed that the affectionate canine deserved a loving home base to live out her final days but were concerned that the expense and emotional toll of Rio’s diagnosis would keep perspective families from adopting her.
Happily, Center hearts weren’t the only ones touched by Rio. When news of Rio’s condition went public, her story quickly gained media attention resulting in an overwhelming number of adoption applications from as far away as Washington D.C., Alabama, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Utah, and Arizona. Due to Rio’s delicate condition and Center veterinarians concern of undue stress from travel, only California applications could be given serious consideration but, even with the restriction, the Helen Woodward Animal Center adoption staff had quite a large and heartfelt variety to choose from.
With the assistance of the Center’s pet trainer Rob Kuty, Center veterinarian, Dr. Stephanie Oba, and Center Adoptions Service Manager Amelia Petersen, the applications were narrowed down to five “perfect matches.” The five applicants then underwent an even more thorough screening process to make sure the potential adopters were comfortable with the upcoming health needs and life-style conditions Rio would require. Finally, a meet-and-greet was arranged to acquaint Rio with applicants and their own fuzzy family members to make sure that the personalities were a match.
Now, one very special family has been selected to take Rio home for good. The family is local, has extensive dog experience – even having rescued another HWAC dog named Liberty. They are looking forward to welcoming Rio into their La Mesa home.
Heather Bardin shared why she and her parents are certain that they will be able to provide a good home for Rio. She stated, “Both of my parents are home during the day so Rio will always be in good hands. My dog, Liberty, would love having a dog friend at home too. It really means so much to us to provide a loving home to Rio for the rest of her days.”
“I’m thrilled for Rio,” stated adoptions staff member and temporary foster Shea Durfey. “I love her so much and she has been such a sweet addition to my family. I’m really going to miss her but I want her to have a comfortable place to stay all day with a family that loves her. We found the perfect one. As much as my heart breaks to see her go, it’s full of joy for her too.”
Last week it was announced that the Del Mar Albertsons/Sav-On Pharmacy had offered to cover the costs of Rio’s medication expenses for the big-hearted family willing to take Rio into their home. Now Blue Buffalo, a dog and cat food company with philanthropic efforts towards pet cancer research has jumped in to provide a life-supply of food for Rio to the adopting family. Representatives from both companies will attend the adoption event on Monday to present the Bardin family with gifts and support.
Stay tuned for more information from Helen Woodward Animal Center. If you are in California, make sure to stop by at 6461 El Apajo Road in Rancho Santa Fe. Congratulations Rio – hope your last days will be your finest!