Animal shelter volunteer drives across the country to reunite a terminally ill woman with her beloved dog

Animal shelter volunteer drives across the country to reunite a terminally ill woman with her beloved dog

Animal shelter volunteer drives across the country to reunite a terminally ill woman with her beloved dog.
Animal shelter volunteer drives across the country to reunite a terminally ill woman with her beloved dog. Courtesy of Ryan Chukuske

The love of a canine companion is truly one of life’s few absolutes. It’s real, it’s lasting, and it always unconditional. And in our times of greatest need, they always seem to find us to offer the support to get us through.

For one Minnesota woman, the moment of need couldn’t be more dire. Following a terminal health diagnoses, doctors gave her only a few months to live. In order to receive proper care, she had no choice but to move to Washington State where a friend was willing to help.

Animal shelter volunteer drives across the country to reunite a terminally ill woman with her beloved dog.
Animal shelter volunteer drives across the country to reunite a terminally ill woman with her beloved dog. Courtesy of Ryan Chukuske

But this also meant that Bailey, her beloved dog, could not come. Bailey is a pug mix with a “smoosh” nose who would have problems breathing at high altitudes, and the airline could not allow the dog to make the trip. In tears, the woman could do nothing but drop Bailey off at a local veterinary clinic and say goodbye.

Animal shelter volunteer drives across the country to reunite a terminally ill woman with her beloved dog.
Animal shelter volunteer drives across the country to reunite a terminally ill woman with her beloved dog. Courtesy of Ryan Chukuske

But her plight reached the ear Spot’s Last Stop Canine Rescue volunteer Ryan Chukuske. Not wanting the woman to spend the time she had left without her companion, he volunteered bring Bailey to her — by car.

Animal shelter volunteer drives across the country to reunite a terminally ill woman with her beloved dog.
Animal shelter volunteer drives across the country to reunite a terminally ill woman with her beloved dog. Courtesy of Ryan Chukuske

“I didn’t hesitate,” said Ryan in an interview with WCCO. “I just think it was one of those things where everyone deserves good things to happen to them regardless of where you’re at in life, and especially maybe at the end of your life. So, if having your dog with you is what is really important to and for you, then I am going to make that happen.”

Animal shelter volunteer drives across the country to reunite a terminally ill woman with her beloved dog.
Animal shelter volunteer drives across the country to reunite a terminally ill woman with her beloved dog. Courtesy of Ryan Chukuske

Although Ryan is paying for the expenses out of his own pocket, his wife also set up a GoFundMe support the cross-country endeavor. Over 100 donations poured in to cover food, hotel, and gas expenses totaling over $2,700, far exceeding the original $1,000 goal. All additional donations will go to support Spot’s Last Stop Canine Rescue.

Animal shelter volunteer drives across the country to reunite a terminally ill woman with her beloved dog.
Animal shelter volunteer drives across the country to reunite a terminally ill woman with her beloved dog. Courtesy of Ryan Chukuske

On November 25th, the GoFundMe proudly posted that Ryan was back in Minnesota, and Bailey is now safe in Washington.

For the woman, Bailey might be the best treatment she could possibly have, and it was all made possible by the kindness of a stranger.


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