Guy Drops '20-Year-Old' Dog At Shelter And Asks Them To Euthanize Him

“Sometimes animals come in and you’re just at a loss for words. This is one of those times.”

When Radar was dropped off at the Harris County Animal Shelter in early October, shelter workers got an unusual request from his owner — this person asked that the 20-year-old dog be euthanized.

But the volunteers didn’t see a dog who was severely suffering — they saw an old dog who didn’t know what he had done wrong, or why he was suddenly so far from his home.

Radar the dog surrendered to Harris County Animal Shelter
Animal Justice League

If Radar was going to have a chance at survival, he needed to get out of the noisy shelter environment, and find a place that could offer him appropriate care and attention. So shelter workers posted a plea on Facebook.

Sometimes animals come in and you’re just at a loss for words. This is one of those times,” Harris County Animal Shelter wrote on Facebook. “This little Ewok-looking teddy bear is Radar. It’s pretty easy to see that Radar is terrified, confused and wondering where anything familiar went.”

Radar’s heartbreaking story spread quickly, reaching a volunteer at the Animal Justice League, a rescue group based in Houston, Texas.

“We actually were in the middle of our monthly board meeting and a volunteer tagged us on the Facebook post,” Jennifer Graves, rescue board president, told The Dodo. “We immediately (and unanimously!) agreed that we couldn't allow this senior pup to spend another minute in the shelter.”

“We knew that if it was, in fact, his time to cross the Rainbow Bridge, we wanted it to be in a home with dignity and not in the shelter where he was alone and scared,” Graves added.

Radar the senior pup on his freedom ride to Animal Justice League
Animal Justice League

Radar was immediately taken from the shelter to a local vet, where holes quickly began to appear in the former owner’s story. The vet believed Radar to be five to eight years younger than the advanced age listed on his shelter intake paperwork, and it was clear that Radar had not had an easy life.

Radar the senior rescue dog escapes Houston, Texas shelter
Animal Justice League

The dog’s matted fur and overgrown nails suggested that he had been neglected — and his fluffy brown fur hid the frail frame of an extremely malnourished dog.

“His bones protrude and his back legs have very little muscle tone, which could be from trauma, age or perhaps because he spent a considerable time locked in a tiny cage,” Graves said. “We really don't know his story, which always makes these cases so hard and sad.”

Radar's overgrown nails and matted fur were signs of neglect
Animal Justice League

But despite his difficult past, Radar still longed for a sign of his former home or familiar comfort.

“Dr. Moore mentioned, ‘It looks like he's searching for his owners because of the way he was sniffing around searching for a familiar smell,'” Graves said. “When he didn't find someone whose smell he recognized, he would just pick a person and cuddle up next to them as close as possible.”

Tests revealed that Radar was battling a fever, a gastrointestinal infection and a significant heart murmur. The vet prescribed pain medication and antibiotics, and in less than a week under the rescue’s care, his health has improved significantly.

Now, finally clean and comfortably installed in a foster home, Radar is finally getting the attention he so deserves.  

Radar gets a makeover
Animal Justice League

"Radar hasn't felt so great. But he definitely wants to be around people,” Brandi Hendrix, Radar’s foster mom, told The Dodo. “He is more alert and has started to follow me around and will sit next to me with his head in my lap."

Radar isn’t bothered by his new dog and cat foster siblings, so long as he gets ample love and affection, which, Hendrix believes, he rarely received in the past.

Animal Justice League

While the rescue is unsure if Radar will fully recover, they’re hopeful that the little dog will have a happy and peaceful second act.

“Given the state of his health and the uncertainty that goes along with that, we aren't sure what the future holds for him,” Graves explained. “We will continue to work diligently to provide the best possible care for Radar and prepare him for adoption.”

It’s clear Radar has a long road ahead, but the strong senior pup has already come so far.

To help support Radar’s care, you can make a donation to the Animal Justice League.