This is the story of Cyrus, the luckiest dog, with a tale to tell. Thanks to Valley Veterinary’s receptionist, Ashley Foresta, her rescue City of Elderly Love, and a network of caring volunteers, Cyrus is now home and safe after an incredible journey.
Cyrus, a 12-year-old pit and lab cross, was not microchipped and had no collar when he got frightened by fireworks on his Northeast Philadelphia block. He slipped out the front door. Before his family could corral him, someone on Souder Street called the city animal shelter who delivered Cyrus to the facility. When no one claimed him, he was scheduled for euthanasia. The shelters are so overwhelmed by dogs, euthanasia is an unfortunate daily reality.
This is where Cyrus’s story takes a miraculous turn. As adoptions coordinator for City of Elderly Love, Ashley was expecting two elderly pugs to be delivered from the city shelter to her home in Spring City, PA. When the two pugs arrived, Cyrus was also in the car. Why? It was a mistake, the shelter told her, and she could send Cyrus back to Animal Control.
If you know Ashley, you know that wasn’t going to happen.
“Of course I told them he could stay with me,” says Ashley. “He was not going back.” Cyrus made himself at home. Dr. Shreiber gave him a full exam, updated his shots and – yes – microchipped him. Meanwhile, one of City of Elderly Love volunteers, Jen Berwick, noticed a flyer in the city shelter. The dog looked vaguely like Cyrus.
“She had seen his photo on our rescue website and noticed they looked similar,” says Ashley. It turns out, Cyrus had a family and they were looking for him. After a few phone calls, Ashley contacted The Fields family. Jessica and Abbey were overjoyed. The mother and daughter had raised Cyrus from a puppy. He had been missing for over a week and they were quickly losing hope. Ashley spoke with them at length to make sure she was returning him to a loving home. Jessica told her that they had recently experienced the heartbreak of losing her husband to cancer. Her call was the ray of hope the family needed.
When Ashley delivered Cyrus safely back to his family they were waiting to greet him on the front steps. Now Cyrus is doing what any 12-year-old dog loves to do most – nap. He is back where he belongs after a wild adventure that landed him, serendipitously, among some very caring people.
More about City of Elderly Love Rescue
“Erin Lewin and I are best friends that met in 2008 at Philadelphia’s Animal Control,” says Ashley.
They noticed quickly how many senior pets were at the shelter. “After trying to adopt them all into our own houses, we realized there wasn’t enough space in the world to house them all and that senior pets being euthanized in the shelter due strictly to age, let alone illness, was a true epidemic. Fast forward to the year 2013 and we decided to try our luck at applying for a 501c3 and starting our very own rescue. We began by starting our parent rescue, Citizens for a No Kill Philadelphia, an advocacy program (Phillynokill.org) for low income families in the Philadelphia area that provides low cost medical care and free food at our Pet Pantry days in order to help keep pets in their homes. We had great success with this program and even created our very own adoption day called WITH LOVE: Super Adoption Day that takes place once a year at the Piazza at Schmidts and features over 40 vendors and rescues from all around the tri-state area.”
City of Elderly Love Board Members are: Erin Lewin, president. Samantha Jones, co-founder, Ashley Foresta, adoptions coordinator. Maria Garcia Bunkey and Christina Voigt.