This little old guy had been at a Shelter since he was a puppy.
Finally it was HIS turn to go to a real home.
Aged pooch gets new lease on life
By Jeff Long | Tribune staff reporter
July 16, 2007
Tyler the terrier mix began the first day of his reprieve Sunday as he was helped from an animal shelter van and took his first wobbly steps on the Chicago front lawn of his new owner, Thomas Krautz.
Half-blind, partially deaf and suffering from incontinence, 16-year-old Tyler had been scheduled for euthanizing after a judge ordered the removal of all dogs and cats from the home in a residential McHenry County neighborhood where the Pets in Need animal shelter had operated for more than 15 years.
Because of Tyler's poor health, Pets in Need founder Pat Klimo said it would be unfair to give the dog away.
"I saw the article in the Tribune, and it just broke my heart," Krautz said, referring to a story last month that mentioned Tyler's possible fate.
Krautz, 49, a Metra train conductor, was among about 25 people who called Klimo begging that Tyler be spared and offering a home.
"Oh, my God, he's adorable," Krautz said as Klimo set Tyler gently on the lawn Sunday afternoon and the dog took his first, tentative steps.
"He's a little bit scared," Klimo said, explaining that the dog had come to her shelter when it was little more than a puppy.
But soon Tyler was exploring Krautz's back yard on the Northwest Side. Krautz's two other dogs, a golden retriever-shepherd mix named Razor and a golden Labrador named Sunshine, gave the newcomer welcoming nuzzles. Tyler seemed to settle right in as he walked shakily about the yard, sometimes following Razor or Sunshine, sometimes going off on his own.
Krautz rescued Razor about 10 years ago when he found him in a railway yard near the Dan Ryan Expressway and 47th Street.
"He was 6 months old," Krautz recalled. "He had fleas. His fur was all matted. His neck was bit up because another dog had attacked him."
Klimo said all of the other animals either have been placed with new owners or are staying at a McHenry County boarding facility. She emphasized that adoptions are continuing and that Pets in Need is still operating. She just can't run the shelter out of her home under a settlement with neighbors who had complained in court about it.
Klimo and her husband, Rudy, are looking for a new place to operate the shelter. They have raised about $65,000 of the $500,000 they estimate will be necessary.
As Klimo watched Krautz scratch Tyler behind the ears and then sit on the grass and pull the old dog onto his lap, she said it appears that she found the right home.
"I'm at peace with this," she said. "Not to say I'm not going to be sad. But I'm at peace. I know he's going to be OK. And look at him -- he's content."
"You're such a sweetheart," Krautz told Tyler. "I'll take good care of you."
Turning to Klimo, he added, "He's going to have a good life. I promise you."
To learn more
For more information about the Pets in Need shelter, visit www.petsinneedmidwest.org.