Senior dogs need plenty of love and often struggle to find homes. One animal rescue advocate found a senior Chihuahua named Tito who badly needed a home. He suffered with breathing and was unable to move his legs. But Tito had an unlikely nurse ready to help him with his recovery. Read their heartwarming story!
17. Surrendered and Sickly
Tito the Chihuahua was in bad shape when owner Kristina Helfer met him. At age 16, the little guy was blind and had trouble breathing. He wasn’t able to move his back legs and had an infected mass. The family members of his owner had surrendered him to the shelter after they were unavailable to care for Tito.
16. Saving Tito
Real estate agent Kristina is an adoption and foster coordinator for Wise Animal Rescue. She had seen cases like Tito and resolved to help him as much as she could. She was particularly concerned about his breathing problems, saying, “He kept having to cough and move his head around to breathe.”
15. Trip to the Vet
Tito and Kristina went to the vet and a treatment plan was made. She found out that he had suffered from a collapsed trachea. Instead of leaving him in the shelter, she decided to take him home with her.
Once at Kristina’s, Tito had the chance to meet Frank. Frank is Kristina’s pit bull and he took immediately to Tito. He instinctively knew something was wrong and kept checking on the little Chihuahua.
Frank was worried about Tito. Kristina was concerned how the older dog would take it but Tito seemed happy for the attention. “He was going over to check on Tito constantly — just sniffing him, licking him … At first, I was worried about how Tito would react since he’s very elderly and wasn’t in good health. But he took to Frank just as much.”
11. Another Rescue Dog
Frank came into Kristina’s life when he was discovered living in a junkyard. The pit bull was starving and had developed a nasty case of mange. However, Kristina’s love and care made him a sweet loving dog that blossomed in her home.
10. A Trio of Friends
Kristina has another pit bull named Piper, a double of Frank, and the two dogs got along well despite Frank’s anxiety. She was delighted to see Frank reach out and interact with Tito, especially since he struggles with new situations sometimes.
9. Nurse Frank
Frank has affectionately been dubbed “Nurse Frank” thanks to his sweet caring nature. He’s like a father dog and picks up their emotions instantly. Kristina has even had foster puppies that Frank nurtured lovingly, staying by them and licking them clean. She says he is just drawn towards dogs in need of help.
8. Nursed Back to Health
It wasn’t any surprise for Kristina to see Frank gravitate towards Tito, but it was a delight to see the little dog accept the love and attention so readily. Frank barely left Tito’s side and stayed on to help nurse him back to health.
Tito began to recover thanks to rest and the treatment plan from the vet. Soon he was breathing much better and was going to be fit for surgery. The plan was to remove the mass obstructing his breathing. He got through it perfectly.
6. Lola’s Legacy
Tito’s care was sponsored through an organization called Lola’s Legacy, which works with Wise Animal Rescue. The purpose of the program is to sponsor senior dogs’ care so they can be placed in a loving home. Senior dogs are harder to get placed so programs like this can help get them a forever home easier.
5. A Miraculous Recovery
Kristina calls Tito’s recovery a miracle and perhaps Tito had an angel named Frank. After this, she knew that the bond the two had formed was deeper than any other that Frank had formed. She decided to find him a home — hers.
4. SideCar Tito
Tito now lives happily with Kristina, Piper, and Frank. Frank may not be able to see or walk, but Frank is there to give him a ride. Tito happily rides in a side pouch worn by Frank when they’re out for a stroll. Kristina loves to tell people the story of the dogs’ rescue.
3. Cuddle Buddies
The two dogs love to cuddle and eat snacks like any friends would do! Kristina says Tito loves to lie with his head on Frank’s paws. You can often find these friends lounging and lying in the sun together.
2. Pool Pups
Frank and Tito love lying by the pool. He even likes being held when Kristina is in the pool! Sometimes Tito just lounges on a float and enjoys the beautiful day. After a bit of swimming, Kristina wraps him up into a “Tito burrito.”
1. Sweet Sixteen
Tito is helping Lola’s Legacy and Wise Animal Rescue celebrate his birthday in a big way this September 2018. They’re holding a Sweet 16 Celebration to raise money for senior dog care. As for Tito, he’s living his best life, and loving it. Kristina says Tito seems to have “nine lives” and she’s honored to give him moments of happiness.