Miss Willie was tethered outside in a small patch of dirt for twelve years in Halifax County, North Carolina. The poor dog was left tied to a metal chain attached to a small doghouse and would wag excitedly when anyone approached, hoping for any tiny gesture of affection.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) tried to get her owner to surrender her over to them, but they refused.
PETA’s fieldworkers visited Miss Willie visits for years, offering her the attention she was desperate for and making sure she had clean water and access to food. Then one day, staffer Jes Cochran came for a visit and found Miss Willie in horrible condition. She couldn’t stand up and was coughing and struggling to breathe.
After discussing the dog’s condition with her owner, they finally conceded to let PETA take Miss Willie to get veterinary care. Nobody expected her to survive the night, but she pulled through.
The veterinarians diagnosed Miss Willie with advanced heartworm disease and fluid buildup on her lungs, worsened by her age. They gave a prognosis that she would only live a few more weeks at most.
Jes decided that she would make sure Miss Willie enjoyed the best days of her life, fulfilling a “bucket list of a lifetime” so that she would know that she was loved, cherished, and free at last. (see the video at the end)
She was given a warm soft bed – the first time she enjoyed a comfortable place to sleep. She enjoyed an over-the-top birthday party which happy dogs and volunteers as guests.
She gobbled down a pink bone-shaped birthday cake. Then she enjoyed a pizza party, a trip to the beach, and a trip out on the water on a kayak, which she clearly seemed to love.
She even got a trip to visit the local firehouse and get attention from the firefighters on the truck.
Thanks to her rescuers, Miss Willie finally knew what it meant to be loved.
Just 16 days after she was set free, she passed away peacefully.
PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch said issued a statement about the special dog.
“PETA IS GRATEFUL TO HAVE BEEN ABLE TO GIVE MISS WILLIE A JOYFUL FINAL CHAPTER AFTER THE LIFETIME OF NEGLECT THAT SHE ENDURED.”
They hope that the story about Miss Willie will help in the fight to prevent more dogs like her from suffering entire lifetimes tethered to a chain.
“THIS STORY SHOWS EXACTLY WHY PETA IS SO COMMITTED TO BANNING CONTINUOUS TETHERING OF DOGS EVERYWHERE, INCLUDING IN HALIFAX COUNTY, WHERE THIS POOR DOG LANGUISHED FOR OVER A DECADE.”
See the video from PETA below, but be warned –you might need a tissue or three for this!