Ken Pope, Ph.D., ABPP

We knew when we adopted Walden--an elderly dog in heart failure, with a heart greatly enlarged heart and pulmonary hypertension--he would likely not be with us long.

It was a miracle of timing that this remarkable dog came into our home and hearts. His owner was no longer able to care for him and Walden was scheduled to die in 2 hours. A wonderful woman at the place he'd been boarded called right before Christmas. She said there was just something very special about this dog that was about to be euthanized, and asked if we might consider adopting him. She caught us just headed out the door, in time to change plans and head over to pick him up.

She was right: He was special--He radiated remarkable resilience, warmth, and love of life despite being his serious conditions.

We took him to an emergency clinic where we could get labs, x-rays, etc., and contacted a cardiologist, a nutritionist, and an emergency/critical care specialist at Tufts Veterinary School. The cardiologist and his team, the nutritionist, and the emergency/critical care specialist at Tufts made themselves available over the holidays (even on Christmas day) both by phone and when we brought Walden to Massachusetts to see them. (Walden had never seen a cardiologist nor a nutritionist.) The caring and skilled people at Tufts and at our local emergency clinic gave Walden time to enjoy life that he otherwise would never have had.

That was only 40 days ago, but what remarkable days they've been. Every moment Walden spread his warmth and joy us and to the other special needs dogs and cats in our home.

He passed away today and we miss him terribly.

Here's Walden when he first set foot into his new home:

a tan & white dog stands in the hall smiling at you & wagging his tail

Sharing a bed with Maxx, an elderly blind and deaf dog who, like Walden, has a serious heart condition:

a tan & white dog and a black & white dog share a bed

Walden, who loves being out in the snow...

a happy dog looks up at you from the snow

...but also enjoys relaxing in front of the fire:

a white & tan dog sits on the hearth in front of a fire

Please follow this link -- or click on any of the names along the left side of the screen -- to see the current and former special needs dogs and cats who have come to live together in our home as part of our family.



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