Dogs are such an important part of our lives that it’s not uncommon for family members to take them on when an animal’s owner is ailing. One of the most pressing concerns for people on death’s doorstep is making sure their furry friends are cared for and have somewhere safe to go if the worst should happen.
Izzy, 6, Oliver, 5, Winston, 5, and Isabelle, 4, are pups whose owner, 47-year-old Jennifer Stein of Long Island, New York, contracted COVID-19 and was hospitalized. Since she was unable to care for her canine crew, her 77-year-old father Barry Stein stepped in to care for them.
Then he got COVID. He died Feb. 10, and she died Feb. 16 — but before Barry passed, he made sure the dogs were in safe hands.
“He just couldn’t care for them anymore, he was having trouble breathing just getting the dogs out to us,” a Nassau County SPCA representative told People. “This case was just very hard because it was just the daughter and father and that was it. It was just her, the dad and the dogs.”
The Nassau SPCA has been taking on pets when families have been displaced or financially impacted over the past year in the hopes of reuniting them once they get back on their feet.
Sadly, the Steins don’t have that opportunity, and now the small band of dogs is looking for the impossible: a new home for all four of them.
“Now we have these amazing sweet dogs — hopefully, we can get a home that will take all four of them,” the representative continued. “We are trying.”
The SPCA posted the dogs’ story on Facebook, and it has since gone viral.
“When we met these four dogs named Oliver, Winston, Isabelle and Izzy it was to temporarily help their owners who were affected by COVID,” it wrote. “At that time, their mom was hospitalized with the virus and her father, who was also battling COVID, was home caring for the dogs.
“Normal day-to-day care of the dogs became impossible for him and although difficult to part with his daughter’s dogs (her babies), he knew it was the only way he could get better and help his daughter recover. We assured him they would be waiting right here for her when she got released from the hospital.
“A day after we took the dogs in, the father was also hospitalized and sadly, passed away a few days later. We were all so hopeful the daughter would recover and she would have her babies to come home to. Unfortunately that reunion will never happen as Oliver, Winston, Isabel and Izzy lost their mom this past week. They’ve lost everything.
“It breaks our hearts when we look into their little faces and they are asking when they could go home, but we are determined to keep those tails wagging.”
Hopefully, with all the coverage this story is getting, Oliver, Winston, Isabelle and Izzy will have a fighting chance at living out the rest of their lives together.
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