Doctor has traveled to the Grand Canyon and Niagara Falls, Florida and California, and on Thursday, he boarded his first plane, headed to Cincinnati via United Airlines thanks to the generosity of local donors.
File it as a new story under “It’s a dog’s life.”
Doctor, a schnauzer, has lived up to his name. Seven years ago, when his owner was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, the therapist recommended a dog as part of his treatment. Enter a little canine, who Sarah Parker, the owner’s sister, said saved her brother.
“They were inseparable,” she said. “My brother’s bipolar disorder was getting out of control, and he was unable to care for himself, let alone Doctor. He tried to rehome Doctor so many times, but no one would take him because everyone knows that my brother needs Doctor.”
The dog provided more than companionship, Parker said.
“Doctor was someone he could take responsibility for,” she said. “It’s good for anyone to know that you’re needed.”
Finally, her brother, who was working in Durango to save money to continue his trip to California, became so worried about caring for Doctor that he surrendered the dog to the La Plata County Humane Society. The society had a couple of people who were interested in giving a schnauzer a forever home, so that could have been a happy ending without much effort, said Cathy Roberts, a society board member.
Social media changed everything.
“I just posted to their Facebook page that Doctor would not be reclaimed by his owner, and a little bit about his story,” Parker said. “He loves that dog, and was heartbroken he had to give him up.”
Roberts responded to the post, asking if the family would give Doctor a home if the Humane Society could get him there. The answer was a resounding, “Yes!”
Her brother and Doctor had lived with Parker and her family for four years before her brother began traveling about a year-and-a-half ago.
“So Doctor is family,” Parker said. “He’s wonderful. A little yappy, but he’s got a lot of character.”
Parker filled out an adoption contract and got permission from her landlord to have a pet, conditions the La Plata County Humane Society has for all adoptions, Roberts said. A one-way ticket to Cincinnati, where Parker lives, costs $300.
“We have such giving people in this community, especially when they hear a story like this about such a loving dog,” Roberts said. “We asked, ‘Can we help this family?’ And we raised the money in less than 24 hours after the appeal went out.”
Doctor was scheduled to arrive in Cincinnati at 10:15 p.m. Thursday, and Parker was counting the hours that afternoon.
“I sent my brother a text message this morning,” she said. “‘Hey little brother, the stars do align,’” she said in telling him the news. “His response was terse but heartfelt. ‘That is very good news, big sister,’ he texted back.”
Parker said everyone she has told, including her co-workers, has been moved by Doctor’s tale.
“It warms my heart, the generosity of complete strangers,” she said. “They really went above and beyond on this. There’s not a word to describe how grateful I am, so thanks to everyone from me, my brother and Doctor.”