8 min read

Sick Stray Dog Had Weeks To Live — Until He Met Someone Who Wanted Him

He needed something to live for 💕

Courtney Thomsen was scrolling through Facebook one day when she spotted a unique post amidst the usual vacation photos and updates from friends and family. A fluffy white face with pleading eyes stared out from her screen. Thomsen’s heart skipped a beat.

“My friend Konnie had shared a post from The Humane Society of Southeast Texas,” Thomsen told The Dodo. “The post said he was terminal, and they were looking for a special family to take him in for his remaining few weeks or months.”

Facebook post of Taco the sick dog
Humane Society of Southeast Texas

Thomsen could have continued past the post and it would have simply disappeared into her social media feed, but the dog in the photo didn’t have time to be found again. He only had this one small window for a chance at happiness before that too disappeared.

“When I saw his photo on Facebook, I already felt an intense urge to scoop him up, but after reading through several comments saying things like, ‘I wish I could take him!’ I knew I had to get him,” Thomsen said. “I couldn’t stand the thought of him dying alone at the shelter and not knowing what it was like to be loved and be part of a real family.”

Thomsen immediately called up the Humane Society, but the impulsive act of kindness did not come without a fair share of anxiety.

Taco the heartworm positive shelter dog meets his new mom
Courtney Thomsen

Thomsen knew nothing about the sick little dog, who had been dumped at the shelter dirty, nameless and skinny. The paperwork about his conditions and the number of medications he required was overwhelming. But when shelter staff finally brought the dog out for a meet and greet, something clicked.

“When we showed up, they said he didn’t really seem to respond to [his name],” Thomsen said. “My 5-year-old son immediately said, ‘We can name him Taco!’ An employee called him Taco, and he went straight to her! So he was immediately renamed Taco.”

Courtney Thomsen adopts Taco from Texas shelter
Courtney Thomsen

As it turned out, Thomsen wasn’t the only one nervous about the new living arrangement. Taco, too, had his reservations, and was hesitant to trust.

“He seemed really worried and unsure at first, almost as if he thought we were just another stopping point, and not his forever family,” Thomsen said. “He laid in one place all the time, and he just seemed really sick and depressed.”

Courtney Thomsen

So Thomsen decided to do anything she could to help the dog come out of his shell. And it worked.

“I spent so much time loving on him, cuddling him, talking to him and just anything I could think of to make him feel better,” Thomsen said. “Within a few days, Taco began to smile, and get excited about things. He started following me everywhere — so I started taking him everywhere.”

Dying dog makes transformation
Courtney Thomsen

Taco had never been potty trained, but he quickly caught on to the ways of the household by following his new dog siblings’ example. He even learned a few tricks to please his mom.

“He didn’t know how to sit when I first got him, but he saw the other dogs getting a treat for sitting, so of course Taco started sitting pretty quick,” Thomsen said.

Taco the fospice dog and his poodle brother
Courtney Thomsen

Now, Taco is making up for lost time when it comes to affection. “He will love on anyone who will love on him back,” Thomsen explained. “When he wants to be pet (which is pretty much all the time), he will take his paw and rub his own head, then grab my hand to try to make me pet him."

Courtney Thomsen

With advanced heartworm disease, and a long list of health problems, Taco might not have much time left on this earth. But under Thomsen’s care, his health and mood have improved more than anyone could have predicted. The little dog has gained weight and confidence, and, besides his coughing fits, lives the life of a normal dog.

Taco goes for a walk
Courtney Thomsen

Though Thomsen can’t stand the thought of losing Taco, she wouldn’t change their time together for anything. He just makes life better, Thomsen explained, and that can’t be quantified:

“I love waking up to him, and coming home to him and getting to see his precious little smile. I love when I get to be home all day and play with him and let him cruise in the car with me. I love that he follows me everywhere and looks to me for comfort. I love that I can tell he is happy just to be part of a family. I love that he actively tries to learn new things to impress me.”

Courtney Thomsen

“He’s taught me that everyone deserves a second chance in life,” Thomsen added, “And it is amazing how much improvement can be made with some love and comfort.”

To help other dogs in need of homes, you can make a donation to The Humane Society of Southeast Texas.