’20-Year-Old Dog’ Left At Shelter To Be Euthanized Hides Sad Secret Under His Fur


“Sometimes animals come in and you’re just at a loss for words. This is one of those times.” That’s how Harris County Animal Shelter described Radar when the tiny “Ewok-looking” dog came in to their shelter.

His owner dropped him off and asked him to be euthanized, telling them he was 20 years old and should be put down because he was having diarrhea and vomiting.

Harris County Animal Shelter

“It’s pretty easy to see that Radar is terrified, confused and wondering where anything familiar went,” they said after sharing a video of him in their shelter. “So this guy sits and waits all alone. Does he know he doesn’t have much time? Is he desperately searching for his owner?”

“We’re going to be really honest. We don’t know if we can save him,” they continued. “He hasn’t been seen by a vet and maybe they’ll decide that euthanasia is the best choice to end his suffering. Maybe we can get enough donations so a rescue can tag him and let him pass surrounded by dignity and love. We don’t know how much time he has left, but we think he deserves a peaceful passing.”

A short time later, Radar received that lifeline. He came to the attention of Animal Justice League, who were on route the next day to pick him up.

“He spent the night at the shelter confused, worried, and depressed,” Animal Justice League wrote on Facebook. “Thankfully, we were able to pick up this beautiful boy this morning and get him seen by our wonderful vets at Oak Forest Veterinary Hospital.”

The vet discovered that Radar was suffering from more than just old age.

Animal Justice League

“He has little to no muscle tone in his back legs and walks like a very very old dog. Which by the way, he IS old but he is not 20,” they revealed. “He is running a fever and our vet believes it’s from whatever is wrecking havoc in his gut. His bottom is so tender that he screams when touched near his rectal area or when he attempts to poo. X-rays revealed no fractures or blockages.”

Animal Justice League

“While we were at the vet office the vet mentioned ‘it looks like he’s searching for his owners…’ and it’s true. He sniffs around and when he doesn’t smell someone he recognizes he picks a person and cuddles as close as possible to them.”

Radar was taken by his foster mom after getting some much needed treatments. “His foster mom will be making him his food and staying him with him to monitor how he is doing and seeing if he improves with the medication and healthy nutritional meals,” they wrote.

And it turns out Radar loves food.

“He LOVES his meals and snack times,” his foster mom wrote. “Currently he’s eating chicken and rice and pumpkin for his meals (bland stuff for his tummy issues) and baby food turkey for snacks.”

“This [photo below] is after he ate all his food and was looking at me for more.”

Animal Justice League

“I gave him a light bath last night and you can’t tell from all the fur, but he is alarmingly thin. Not just thin, but all bones and ribs sticking out,” she said.

After a few days of rest, Radar is a “teeny bit peppier”. He seems to be feeling better and getting gentle grooms.

Animal Justice League

A week later, and Radar is behaving even better and his personality is slowly coming out.

Animal Justice League

“This morning, he got excited while I was making his food and he got so excited and spun around a few times and then ran up to a toy and grabbed it like he was about to start playing with it,” his foster mom wrote.

“Of course, I ruined the moment by cooing at him and trying to get my phone, but it’s the first spark I’ve seen of playfulness in this guy. Everything I’ve seen for the past week has been confusion or fear or survival or kind of…acceptance. But this was the first bit of JOY.”

Animal Justice League

As for when he might be available for adoption, Animal Justice League wrote, “Please be patient with us in regards to adoption – he is not quite ready, we are still assessing his health needs. When or if we determine he’s ready for adoption, we will post on our page!”


Sadly, three weeks after his rescue Radar passed over Rainbow Bridge. “From his foster mom who was his loving mom:

“Yesterday, after a particularly awful morning, I rushed Radar to the emergency vet. He ended up being admitted to the hospital, and overnight it became crushingly apparent that his issues were greater than we had imagined, and he was in far too much pain. After thoughtful discussion, it was decided that the kindest thing we could do for him would be to let him go. When he came to AJL three weeks ago, he was a sick and neglected dog that had been unceremoniously dumped at a shelter and left to die. I can only hope that in these past few weeks he felt a little love and peace. I cooked his meals (a true testament to my devotion, because I hate to cook), rubbed his belly, and spent hours cuddling with him on the sofa. When it was time to say goodbye, I held him and told him what a good dog he had been and that even though he had just come to me, he was mine and I was his and I loved him with all my heart. Today has been really heartbreaking and I’ve been crying all afternoon. I don’t really know what I believe happens after death, but I do find solace in the first law of thermodynamics. Energy cannot be created or destroyed…only changed. So even though this sweet little dog isn’t here in the form I want him to be, his energy is still here, and I’m going to do everything I can to make sure some of that goodness gets out into the world.”

We are heartened by the fact that sweet Radar was surrounded by love in his final month and had a truly loving family holding his paw as he passed on.

To learn more about the work that Animal Justice League does, visit their website.


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