We all remember Lady, the grey-muzzled black Labrador Retriever whose plight earned headlines all over the globe. The story started 2012, when Lady, then known as Ma Kettle, lost her home when her owner died. A family in Sedan, Kansas, adopted the dog but the arrangement lasted only until the family adopted another dog. The new resident and Ma Kettle did not hit it off, so the family found her a new place in Independence, Kansas. She obviously didn’t like the idea, so she ran away and walked back to the people she viewed as her family, a 30-mile hike.
They didn’t want her, so off she went to the Chautauqua County Animal Shelter, Sedan, Kansas. Her life may well have ended there had it not been for an article about her in the Pet Rescue Examiner, a specialty publication about animals in need.
That story touched a chord among animal lovers. Soon Lady’s face was all over social media in July 2014.
Helen Rich, the critter-loving heiress to the Wrigley chewing-gum fortune, had just lost an elderly Lab named Granny. When she saw the Facebook post she decided this poor lost soul from Kansas might fill the void. That’s how a once-unwanted old dog found herself with a new name, Lady, travelling on a private jet headed to 11,000-square-foot, three story mansion in Odessa, Florida. Pictures of the dog sitting in her own seat on the jet flashed across the social media world.
“She will never be scared or lonely again,” Rich wrote on her Facebook page when Lady landed.
Rich, who is also an award-winning author, was good to her word. For nearly a year, Lady lived the high life, surrounded by comfort and love on Rich’s 120-acre animal sanctuary. Then, at the beginning of July, doctors found an aggressive tumor on her adrenal gland. Nothing could be done to stop it. Lady came home from the hospital to spend the “last night in her bed. In the morning she will cross the bridge wrapped in my arms,” Rich wrote on July 13. The next day, there was just this brief message on her Facebook page: “The long night is over. Lady has her wings. Thank you, friends, for all the love and support.”
To learn more about the challenges and joys elderly dogs, take a look at our free e-book, Life With a Senior Dog.