Best Friends Reunited by Act of Kindness

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Most of us regard our pets as family, and a man forced to give up his beloved dog when his health failed said he has been heartbroken ever since.

That heartbreak was exactly what motivated a group of sympathetic Heartland Hospice workers to search for and find the family that had adopted Teddy after he was relinquished. When hospice worker Tirah Brown told the family about the man and his history with the dog, they agreed to allow Teddy to visit his former owner in what would be an incredibly emotional reunion.

Earl, 67, was surprised to see his old dog Teddy for the first time in more than a year, and wept openly when he realized that his long lost friend had returned. He was forced to give up his dog after suffering a stroke and battling the onset of dementia. A year prior Earl’s wife had passed away. He said goodbye to Teddy when he was forced to move into a long-term care facility.

“I would have never given him up [otherwise],” he said. Teddy had been a gift to Earl from his now-deceased wife, so the reunion was bittersweet. Despite the tears, Earl’s caretakers say having the chance to see Teddy again was good for him.

“At this time things look pretty grim to him. He’s at a new facility, he’s not at his home anymore, he doesn’t have his dog. His wife passed away approximately two years ago. He’s grieving a lot of things. And I thought if I could put a smile on his face just temporarily it would do him some good,” said social worker Tirah Brown.

After spending a few minutes with his old friend, Earl collected himself and spoke briefly with reporters. He was unable to mask his heartbreak at having been forced to say goodbye to his pets. “Him and the kitty-cat were our children,” he said.

Teddy now lives with a Rockford couple and their young girl. In a sad, sweet gesture, Earl gave them the blanket Teddy had slept on since he was a puppy.

14 thoughts on “Best Friends Reunited by Act of Kindness”

  1. Tirah Brown you are an amazing person! I can not get over the enormous gift you gave Earl. What a lovely human being you are to not only know what he needed most, but to make it happen. I only hope that Teddy’s new family finds it in their hearts to continue to share Teddy with Earl in the time that he has left. They have a once in a lifetime opportunity to give the gift of love to a stranger by sharing Teddy and I have no doubt this gesture will come back to them a thousand fold!

  2. My dog visits our local nursing home twice a month. She brings much joy to people who don’t even know her. Teddy adoptive family should take him as often as possible to give some joy to this man who loves him dearly

  3. I’m so worried this will happen to me. My sis took my mom’s dog when mom went into independent living (she could not have gotten to the yard to let the dog out at night nor could she have walked the dog) but I am thinking I won’t get another dog when my current one goes.

    • yeah that’s what I said hahahahaha Punkin, she’s almost 3 and Louis is 2 are the new loves of my life, I can tell MY LUCKY DAWG sent both of them to me from the shelters….

  4. What a truly heartwarming story. I also visit places with my therapy dog, Lulu, and see how much happiness it brings.

  5. I was so surprised when I visited the Veterans Home here to find that they have cats and a dog livng there as well. It was delightful to see and I know it means so much to the people living there.

    Tirah Brown God bless you for your caring and compassion. To Teddy’s adoptees I do plead that you let Earl and Teddy visit often. The gift of compassion and acting upon it is priceless and everything does go full circle.


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