Losing your only family and companion is surely heartbreaking. Their absence will leave you feeling empty and sad. An elderly man felt exactly that when he lost his only friend, Zack. Though he thought he was going to be left with no one, the unexpected kindness of strangers that came pouring in showed otherwise. They stepped in to help him through his tough time.
80-year-old Ken lived in a small mobile community with his dog, Zack, a 16-year-old pooch. The man, who was not very social, did not have many friends in the neighborhood and often kept to himself. “I had seen Ken with Zack a couple of times. He’s very quiet. Doesn’t say anything. Just kind of a wave and we went on,” said a neighbor Carol Burt to MNN. But the unexpected events that followed changed their relationship.
One evening, another neighbor came to see Carol. The neighbor insisted on her meeting the retiree immediately. So Carol rushed to the man’s mobile home and was shocked to see the pensioner in tears. Ken’s pooch was unwell. Being financially unstable, he could not pay for Zack’s treatment. The woman, who could see the man in pain decided to help him. “When I was walking back to my house, I thought, ‘Well, I’ll just put it out on Facebook,'” said the woman to MNN. She posted an appeal on Facebook and asked people for help.
Fortunately, an hour after posting the request, they received a call from Elaine Seamans, the founder of the At-Choo Foundation, an organization that helps animals in shelters. The generous woman said she was ready to pay for Zack’s treatment and asked Carol to take the dog to the vet immediately. Soon the two rushed to the hospital to save the dog in pain.
However, on reaching the clinic, the two realized that the dog was not going to make it. “We lost him that night. He had so many, many issues going on with him,” said Carol. The elderly man could not believe it. He had just lost a piece of his heart. The man held on to Zack and wept out loud. He had lost his best friend and his only family.
Carol, who saw the man in intense sorrow, snapped a quick image of Ken telling goodbye to his dog. The picture was later posted by Seamans on Facebook. “I thought, ‘Oh my God, we can relate to that grief.’ I wanted to send him a card and I wondered if other people would, too,” said the woman. Soon, hundreds of cards were sent by strangers to the grief-stricken man. “He was crying for the loss of his dog and also crying because so many people cared who he didn’t know and would never know,” said Carol.
Many people offered to help him and some even said they were ready to provide a lifetime supply of food for his next dog. However, the passing of Zack took a toll on his physical health. He suffered a heart attack and was admitted in the hospital.
However, he was not as lonely as he feared. He now had friends who were once just strangers. Carol went to visit him daily and got him numerous letters along with home-cooked meals. She even brought along one of the dogs she was fostering.
— MotherNatureNetwork (@MotherNatureNet) April 3, 2018
Ken’s neighbor, Carol organized a memorial for his dog and took to Facebook to express her thankfulness to all the people who consoled her 80-year-old neighbor in pain. “Thank you all for making this happen. Words cannot describe the gratefulness, the humbleness, the kindness and the love Ken has felt this week from all of you,” wrote Carol.
The 80-year-old did not expect strangers to resonate with his loss. But he was lucky enough to experience the support and love of hundreds.