We are happy to announce that she has found a wonderful human to share her final days with – and she’s got a few life lessons to teach him before she goes!
At first glance, 25-year-old Lawson Chambers may seem like an unlikely choice to take in a dog like Akira. The sweet pooch was recently diagnosed with mast cell carcinoma – a form of cancer that will eventually take her life.
Lawson is a talented illustrator and cartoonist creating a name for himself within Atlanta’s thriving art scene – someone you may expect to see romping in the park with a young pup, not a terminally-ill senior.
He learned Akira’s story while attending a fundraiser earlier this month. A volunteer from LifeLine Animal Project’s Dekalb County Animal Services detailed the staff’s desperate search to find a loving human to liberate her from the shelter and spoil her rotten.
Having recently said goodbye to two senior dogs owned by one of his roommates, Lawson was considering taking in a foster dog. Could a terminally-ill fospice dog be the connection he was searching for?
After looking her up online and checking with his roommates, Lawson headed to the shelter to meet Akira in person.
“My decision had been made the second I met her,” he told iHeartDogs. “More than anything, Akira needed a home and love. I work from home, and have a lot of love to give. It felt like a calling, like a service of gratitude for life itself.”
The grateful pooch quickly acclimated to Lawson’s life, learning his routine and bonding with his roommates. She also inspired her young fospice dad to see the world in new ways.
“Akira is the sweetest dog in the world, and I’m lucky I get to experience her, but I know our time is limited. That dichotomy speaks to me, reminds me to be present.”
Veterinarians do not believe Akira’s condition is currently causing her any pain, and according to Lawson, she shows no signs of being ill.
“She has a surprising amount of energy, actually,” he said. “She’s surprisingly strong too; I’ve been getting a workout from taking her on walks. I’m still cautious of letting her overexert herself, but for the most part, I don’t need to coddle her in the slightest.”
Akira’s favorite part about her new-found freedom is definitely riding in the car. After more than a year in the shelter, she sees each journey as a chance for an exciting new experience!
When asked what advice he would give to others considering taking in an end-of-life dog, Lawson said:
“Since fospice dogs are usually older, I think a lot of people may give up on connecting with them. Getting to know Akira has not only been gratifying in becoming a better parent to her, but pets also serve as powerful mirrors to ourselves. I think my advice is to look for teaching moments both for your dog, but also yourself. If you present an energy that your dog doesn’t like, think about it on both ends. I think that kind intent leads to both a stronger connection with your dog and a better understanding of how you interact in this world.”
Don’t be afraid to open your heart to a senior or end-of-life rescue dog. As Lawson now knows, they have so many important life lessons to teach – and an endless supply of love to give!
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