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Gut-Wrenching Photo of Senior Dog Abandoned at Shelter Leads to Second Chance

By Deidre Grieves    June 17, 2015 / (8) comments

After living with a family for 14 years, Dessie the dog was abandoned outside of Miami-Dade County Animal Services, the county's government run animal shelter. According to NBC 6 South Florida, Dessie was tied outside and her owners simply walked away.


But someone snapped a heartbreaking photo of the dog, which has since gone viral and may be Dessie’s saving grace for a chance at a new home.


Since Miami-Dade County Animal Services does practice euthanasia procedures, Dessie’s chances of leaving the shelter alive were slim. Her age likely would have put her at high risk for death row. But when foster and rescue group A Way For a Stray saw the photo, they knew they had to step in to save the elderly dog.


Lyndsey Gurowitz-Furman, a member of the rescue group, told reporters that Dessie’s situation is extremely sad. “Imagine living with someone for 14 years and all of a sudden they abandon you. That's exactly what happened,” she said.


Gurowitz-Furman and her team picked up Dessie from the Miami-Dade shelter and took her for a vet visit. The exam revealed that Dessie is healthy for an older dog. She had an ear infection and she’s deaf, but her heart, bones, and internal organs are all in good shape. The group also gave Dessie a bath and cleaned her up before sending her to a caring foster home.


desi shelter dog


A Way for a Stray will now work on finding Dessie a loving forever home where she can enjoy all the time she has left — a home where her new owners will love her unconditionally and never give her up. Because that’s what Dessie deserves. That’s what all senior dogs abandoned at shelters deserve.



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Images: A Way for a Stray via Facebook

Comments  8

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  • The Dessie
    11/10/2015 02:27pm

    I remember this heart wrenching story, and it is sickening how people in Miami treat their pet's. I live Ft Lauderdale and I have two dogs of my own and I had just taken in a foster dog that was saved from death from the very disgusting shelter in Miami. Dessie would have never made it out alive if that wonderful person hadn't taken Dessie's picture. Yes there was media coverage but it should have been played over and over so it will sink into the horrible people that abandon, neglect and abuse their pets will know its in humane and disgraceful. It needs to be stiffer laws so this will stop happening here in Florida and all over the United States.

  • 11/10/2015 05:22pm

    did you at the very least charge these despicable and heartless monsters
    hope you found a better home and better owners
    and just remember people

  • Shame.
    11/10/2015 03:41pm

    What was the family thinking? Did they first try to find a suitable home for their senior pet? Was this an act of desperation leaving their elderly dog at a kill shelter, knowing there was little chance she would ever be adopted?
    People need to be educated that leaving an animal at a kill facility is a near certain death sentence. While I'm thrilled this sweet dog was saved, I am concerned that other people will rationalize that they can do the same when their pets become older and of "no use" to them. There should be a public shaming if the identity of these people becomes known. Shame is a powerful force, and can be used to socially curb this type of irresponsible behavior. Ideally, there should also be a financial penalty with the possibility of imprisonment. People need to be educated and held accountable, otherwise, this problem will tragically continue to escalate.

  • Shelter or outside?
    11/10/2015 07:28pm

    I would never abandon my pet or family but no one knows their story. I would never shame a person who takes their animal to the shelter because so many leave them right on the streets and that is CRUEL. I see the animals like this and I always say I wish whoever had them took them to the shelter but if we jump on people for going to shelters they will leave them in the streets.

  • Thankful
    11/10/2015 11:34pm

    Please think twice - whoever left this dog knew that she would be taken care of as opposed to chaining her to a doghouse in a backyard to die or many other horrible situations. I volunteered for a long time at an SPCA and I felt grateful that at least we received the dog/animal alive. Please don't discourage anyone from getting the animal to a place of safety.

  • This is Soooo Wrong
    11/11/2015 01:30am

    I hope this was an act of last resort. I'm trying to be kind and give the people the benefit of the doubt. Because if it wasn't, I hope whoever did this to their senior dog rots in Hell. No animal should have this happen.

    At least Dessie has a chance to be given another home. Fingers crossed

  • Abandoned pets
    11/11/2015 02:36am

    At the end of October I found a large beautiful pure white cat hiding in a large hen cage at the local fairground where I feed a feral colony. I took her home but she barely ate. I could tell she had once been very large and she was very sweet but not eating or drinking much. A rescue group discovered she had been front and back declawed and was an older cat. A volunteer did everything possible to keep her alive but in November she had to be euthanized. Someone had loved this cat and kept it inside and somehow it ended up abandoned. We'll never know if she was really very ill and that's why she wouldn't eat or if being abandoned, she was unable to find food and was so heartbroken that she stopped eating. Whatever the case this poor cat, like the poor Dessie, was loved then left. There is no crueler fate for an animal like this.

  • 11/11/2015 08:20pm

    That is so sad. Thank you for helping this poor cat out. You all did your best, and she went over The Bridge in loving and warm surroundings. That means a lot.

    One November, years ago, we heard this weird should out on the patio. It was this skeletal orange cat licking the place where I had put treats down for my cat. It broke my heart.

    I brought him in. We named him Mooch, and our vet said he had to be around 18+ years. He was also declawed, nearly blind, and toothless. But his sense of smell was just fine :) That's why we called him Mooch.

    We only had him for 10 months. Moochie was one of the best cats ever, and I still miss him so much. You have to wonder how an animal finds their way to where they need to be