Woman sees shelter dog about to be euthanized and knows she’s meant to save his life

It’s a heartbreaking reality that many shelter dogs who don’t find homes are euthanized, but thankfully there are people in the world willing to step up and rescue these dogs before it’s too late.

Like one woman, who saw a dog a half hour away from being put to sleep and knew she was meant to save his life.

In December, Trish Bauer, from California, was browsing Instagram when she came across the heartbroken face of a 12-year-old German Shepherd dog named Wilbur, a “sweet, friendly old man” who was about to be euthanized.

The friendly old dog had one last chance to find a home before it was too late: “I need someone to save me right now, or else I’ll be put to sleep,” the Instagram post from FurryTail Endings read.

Bauer was struck by the dog’s story: “Something about his eyes just called to me,” she told the Los Angeles Times. “He was so defeated, and I knew that same feeling, like life had just given up on him.”

Perhaps it was her own personal battles that made her relate to the poor dog. Almost exactly a year before seeing Wilbur, Bauer had lost a baby to a stillborn birth. Her daughter Lilly had also been born with a rare form of bone cancer.

Bauer wrote to the shelter and learned that the dog was going to be euthanized in a half hour. She quickly headed out to save his life

“Without thinking, I jumped up, woke up my daughter, grabbed a cat leash since it’s all we had and got into the truck to go pick up a random dog I saw on Instagram with the same lost eyes I had,” she told The Dodo.

It was a big leap of faith: while the family had fostered many kittens, they had never taken in a dog — and Bauer’s daughter Lilly was afraid of them. But as soon as she met Wilbur, her fears went away.

“I love dogs, but I’ve always been scared of them,” Lilly told the LA Times. “But with [him], it’s just like a whole ‘nother world. It’s like he’s from another dimension. He’s old, but he has such a great and big heart.”

“This skinny, handsome boy came running out and right into my daughter’s arms,” Bauer told The Dodo. “His eyes met mine, and [it was] as if he felt the same thing from my eyes as I did his. He knew he wasn’t going to die today.”

SAN BERNARDINO, CA – MAY 3, 2023: Josh Bauer, 36, with his wife Trish, 34, and daughter Lily,10, walk their rescued German shepherd Cooper at Wildwood Park on May 3, 2023 in San Bernardino, California. The family rescued 12-year-old Cooper right before he would have been euthanized.(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

The family took home Wilbur and five other puppies, who were later adopted. Wilbur went to be fostered by another family, but returned to the Bauers after another dog was aggressive towards him.

The Bauers took him in again, and decided to make it permanent. They officially adopted the dog and renamed him Cooper.

While Cooper was safe from euthanasia, he soon faced another life-threatening challenge: during a trip to the vet, an abcess on his neck was discovered to be cancerous.

But Bauer felt it was fate: they had gotten through Lilly’s battle with cancer, and could now get through Cooper’s.

“Most people would be terrified, but for me, it was the biggest sign that this dog was meant to be in our lives,” Bauer told the LA Times. “For the last 10 years, all that our family has known is how to fight cancer. Without us agreeing to fight for him and be his family, he had no chance.”

With the family’s help, Cooper regained weight and was strong enough for surgery. When the procedure was through, Cooper ran to his new family and they knew he was truly meant to be with them.

“He came running down the hall to meet us after surgery with a look in his eyes I’d never seen before,” Bauer told The Dodo. “Home. He had home in his eyes.”

Weeks after his surgery, the family got miraculous news: Cooper was completely cancer-free! Reflecting on their incredible journey together, Bauer says she knows she was meant to save her dog’s life.

“He needed us to fight for him,” she wrote on Instagram. “Dear world. Let Cooper be your reminder that you CAN change someone’s life with simply that pumping heart you have.”

After surviving cancer, Cooper is now relaxing in his new forever home: “He has the start to a beautiful remainder of his life,” Bauer said.

“Days when I’m depressed or sad thinking about the past year, he’s always there to cheer me up,” Trish’s husband Josh Bauer told the LA Times. “He’s the best friend I’ve needed, and it makes me want to get out of the house, take him on walks and just live every day to its fullest.”

In other good news, the couple say they are now expecting a “miracle” baby boy.

SAN BERNARDINO, CA – MAY 3, 2023: The Bauer family , Trish, 34, Josh,36, and Lily,10, hug their rescued German shepherd Cooper at Wildwood Park on May 3, 2023 in San Bernardino, California. Trish was scrolling on Instagram when she came across a post from a dog rescue that said a 12-year-old, 90 pound German shepherd was going to be euthanized if he didn’t find a home soon.(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

What a miracle — we’re so glad Cooper is safe, cancer-free and has a loving family ❤️ It was definitely meant to be!

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