When this dog’s owner told him to “stay,” he did just that. And even when the hours turned to days and there was still no sign of his master, the poor pooch stayed put. Any minute now, his loyalty would be rewarded. Wouldn’t it?
In February 2017 a tale began spreading on social media that broke hearts around the world. It involves a German shepherd dog named Luke, and his story takes place in Moscow in Russia.
Luke’s owner took him for a drive – something the dog probably thought was a great trip out with his human. However, their journey ended on the side of a road, by a restaurant. And what took place next was a shocking act of betrayal and neglect.
In front of the restaurant’s watching patrons, the man spoke one word to Luke. “Stay,” he said. Then the man turned around and left. And the dog dutifully obeyed the command, even after his owner drove away. But as the hours passed, there was at least one person who felt that they couldn’t just look on and do nothing.
The woman was one of the restaurant’s employees – and she felt she had to intervene. Knowing that Luke had been abandoned, she attempted to get him to end his vigil. She tried without success, however: the dog refused to move and therefore let his owner down. In fact, there was nothing that the woman could do to shift him.
What she could do, though, was to keep Luke as comfortable as she could, and so she brought him food so that he wouldn’t starve. But the dog remained loyal to the master who had left him – and he stayed put just as he had been ordered to. Needless to say, his human never came back.
Luke’s devotion was such that he waited in the same spot for seven days. It was then that he met Elena Kniazeva. Somehow, she managed to get the dog to realize that his owner was gone for good. Kind-hearted Kniazeva named the dog Luke and took him to an animal shelter.
And when Luke got there, his spirit rebounded. With the shelter’s love and support, he met other dogs who understood what it felt like to be abandoned. Luke formed a particularly close bond with a dog called Dennis who had been saved by the same rescuer and would become his spiritual brother.
Before he was rescued, Dennis had lived under a trailer with his mom and siblings on a Russian construction site. Just like Luke, kind strangers had kept him and his family alive by feeding them until they could be taken in by a shelter. But, sadly, someone far crueler had discovered the dogs first.
“One day they came to the site and found that someone cut off the mama’s ears,” rescuers wrote on GoFundMe. “One puppy was dead and Dennis was badly injured and screaming in pain. So they had no choice or time [and] scooped the mama and five remaining pups, including Dennis, up and rushed Dennis and mama to the vet.”
After receiving emergency treatment, however, Dennis was stabilized, and the veterinarians even managed to save his leg. Much later, he met Luke at the shelter, and together they formed a close bond. But despite their terrible experiences, the dogs retained their loving natures, and they soon started to enjoy life again.
Meanwhile, the tragic stories of both dogs were heard by the non-profit animal rescue organization Cause 4 Paws Toronto (C4P). The group is dedicated to helping abandoned animals find the homes that they truly deserve. And to that end, it started a crowdfunding campaign for Luke and Dennis.
“When we found out that Luke had a best friend named Dennis, we knew that we couldn’t leave him behind,” C4P wrote on Facebook in February 2017. “[We] decided to take him too. So we are thrilled that Luke and Dennis will have another chance at a happy life!”
“He is five years old… healthy, friendly [and] very well behaved,” C4P wrote of Luke on the dog’s GoFundMe page. “[He has] excellent leash manners [and] knows basic commands. He just loves people and wants nothing more than to be part of a family forever!”
The post continued, “[Dennis’] mama and siblings were adopted but he was left behind. His leg is functional, but he does limp when he walks or runs. He is still very fast and active. He is very sweet and loving, [but he’s a] little more shy and quiet [than] Luke.”
“Both Luke and Dennis are arriving in May to start their new life in Toronto, Canada,” C4P explained in their appeal. “We need your support and donations for their travel costs. Please help us give them this opportunity to have a second chance at a happy life!”
Luckily for Dennis and Luke, many people on the internet thought the dogs deserved that chance, too. And, this time, the dogs wouldn’t have to wait alone. By the end of the week, big-hearted donors had funded their travel costs in their entirety.
Fortunately, there has already been interest expressed in adopting the dogs. In the meantime, though, they will be waiting in Toronto to meet the people lucky enough to have them as furbabies. No doubt they will make one lucky family very happy.
Indeed, Luke and Dennis deserve the very best – something that was denied them for far too long. C4P concurs. “All bad things are in the past,” they wrote on Facebook. “And thanks to many wonderful animal lovers, [these] boys now have a chance they could not even dream of.”
“[That is, finding] their loving homes here, in Canada!” they concluded. “If you, or anyone you know, is interested in fostering or adopting one of them… please contact C4P.” These dogs are a testament to what people can achieve with open hearts – and, finally, their love is being rewarded.