Our final farewell to ThomasThomas passed away just before midnight on 31 December. We bid farewell to one of the oldest dogs residing at the St. Francis Dog Shelter, our partner in Castel Volturno.
Thomas’s muzzle was adorned with a frame of white fur, his ears were perpetually relaxed as he relished a few gentle scratches under the chin, while his eyes were forever on the lookout for a cookie. This is how we will always remember Thomas, one of the oldest dogs who lived at the San Francesco Dog Shelter, our partner in the ‘Too Many Puppies’ program in Castel Volturno, Campania. He passed away just before midnight on 31 December in the arms of the volunteers who had always taken care of him.
Our last goodbye to Thomas
When you cross the threshold of the San Francesco Dog Shelter, you are immediately greeted by a group of elderly dogs who live freely in a dedicated area inside the facility and who like to welcome all visitors to the refuge – each at his or her more or less steady gait and pace.
One of these dogs was Thomas. He had arrived at the Shelter several years ago, after volunteers had found him on the streets of Castel Volturno in a dreadful condition. At the time, he was given only a few months to live, but Thomas went on to live for another three years after that initial diagnosis. These were three precious years, where the dedicated efforts of veterinarians and volunteers played a pivotal role in managing and controlling his many health challenges.
Although he never lived with a family, the Shelter was always considered his real home, which is frequently the case of the many elderly dogs to be found in kennels all over Italy, for whom it is difficult to secure adoption.
A few months ago, his health began to degenerate, and given his advanced age and various illnesses, there was unfortunately no longer anything we could do for him.
“We really spoiled him those last few weeks,” the director of the San Francesco Dog Shelter, Gabriella, told us. “It’s really heartbreaking for us. We are with these dogs every day, and when they leave us it’s terribly painful”.
Thomas left this world just before midnight on the 31st of December, cradled in the arms of his favorite volunteer, who wanted to be by his side right up until the last moment.
When we reflect on him, an image comes to mind of him running towards us with his slightly crooked gait, embodying that understated, almost restrained joy characteristic of senior dogs when they are happy. Simultaneously, we also see the incredible work that the Shelter does in an area where substantial challenges persist regarding animal rights. The Shelter works tirelessly to restore dignity and hope to all the dogs and cats it encounters.