Poh, the handsome and loving 15-year-old dog who can claim 110,000 fans on social media, visited the SPCA Suncoast in New Port Richey, Florida, on Wednesday. Poh was diagnosed by his veterinarian with an inoperable stomach tumor in February, and was thought to only have a few months left, at most. He and his humans, Thomas Neil Rodriguez, known as "DJ", and DJ's fiance', made the decision at that time to take Poh on a cross-country adventure.
And they have been on the road ever since, journeying from coast to coast. From the streets of New York City to the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, and everywhere in-between, they've made friends and won hearts across the country. DJ says he has enjoyed his own moment in the limelight before this, but admits that Poh's celebrity, in a very short time, has now eclipsed his own.
Knowing he had so many fans, DJ and Poh wanted to raise awareness of the many animals in shelters, which prompted their visit to the SPCA Florida shelter this week. The shelter was so excited, posting on their Facebook page, "Just a reminder that Poh and family will be here at 12pm TODAY!!!! We are inviting the entire community to come out and welcome Poh and his incredible family to our town!!"
And then there was the big arrival, with a group photo! The staff said, "On behalf of us here at the SPCA Suncoast, we would like to thank Poh and his family for taking time out of their "Big Adventure" to visit our shelter today! We hope by sharing his story with our community, it will not only encourage shelter adoptions, but also teach us to live in the moment and enjoy every day as if it were your last."
And that's the same sentiment expressed by DJ, who added, "What's better than having him walk around a beach, take a nap with the sun on his snout, the wind, breezing through his ears... nothing better." To DJ, never having had a human child, Poh is his family. Though he knows they are on borrowed time, he's making memories now, with Poh, and his fiance', that will last them forever. While in Florida, he also visited Fort DeSoto Park, which has a large, fenced-in area for dogs.
Earlier this week, he stopped in Beaufort, South Carolina. While there, he visited with a veterinarian who fitted Poh with "Toe Grips," which help dogs get traction on hardwood floors and other surfaces. The vet, Dr. Julie Buzby, invented the little helpers, and DJ says Poh loves them because it gives him help walking, even on a sandy beach. He also received an acupuncture treatment from Dr. Buzby.
Sharing quality time together, DJ scoffs at the people on social media who accuse him of being cruel, who feel that Poh would be better off resting at home. Says Rodriguez, "he seems to love being on the road. When we are at home he tends to deteriorate, there is nothing to do." When Poh feels it's time, we're sure DJ will be right by his side for the final journey. Happy trails, Poh!