There were many comments to the Loyal Golden Retriever story I did a few days ago, many people were upset that the dog was put in a shelter while the family deals with his owner’s death.  Here is another story of a dog that tragically lost her owner, this time to a hit-and-run accident.  She too could have easily been shuttled off to a shelter to await her fate but a fire company and a hospital have other plans.

lucky_dogJoe was a 53-year-old homeless man with a history of medical problems.  He was also was an amputee in a wheelchair.   By his side for the last 8 to 10 years was Lucky – a black Labrador mix.  Joe and Lucky were well known in the Long Beach, California area and very well liked.  He made friends at Fire Station 2, St. Mary’s Medical Center, and made his home at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church helping out with chores.

“He kind of adopted us,” Pastor James Proper said. “He started attending services, Bible study and fellowship meals. He kind of became part of the family. We learned a lot from Joe about what it means to be homeless and to seek community.

Lucky was always by his side. Even when he was admitted to St. Mary’s Medical Center for seizures, Lucky accompanied him – and the hospital welcomed him.

“They were very much regulars,” said Courtney Rowin, the emergency room charge nurse. “Lucky went everywhere with him. Even when he was admitted or taken in for a CT scan, Lucky went along. You could not get that dog to leave his side.”

One night Lucky appeared at St. Mary’s Emergency Room without Joe and the staff immediately knew something was wrong.  Shortly after that, Joe was rushed into their ER after being rescued from the road where he was hit.

Joe didn’t make it. lucky_friends

The nursing staff knew that left Lucky… homeless. Each one of them agreed that NO WAY were they going to send Lucky to a shelter.  Fire Station 2 and Katie Magee, an ER nurse at St. Mary’s, are currently reviewing applications for Lucky’s new home.  They got so many they had to stop accepting them.  In the meantime, Lucky lives between the firehouse and Katie’s home until they find him a good home.  No lonely animal shelter for her.

“We’re going to try to find the best family situation for her so she has a human being with her as much as possible, because that’s what she knows,” says Magee.

“She not going to anyone who doesn’t realize it’s all about Lucky,” Magee adds with a laugh.

Here’s a group of people, not even blood relatives, that could see the strong bond there was between Lucky and Joe.  Their only thought now is to make sure Lucky lives out the rest of her life with another loving owner.


What a bittersweet and touching story Andrea, thank you for sharing that.  It’s always so heartwarming when people go out of their way for the sake of our canine companions.  There’s no doubt that Joe dearly loved Lucky and Lucky loved Joe.

There was one part of the story that about brought me to tears;

When they took Lucky in to the room where Joe’s body had already been placed in a body bag, the dog jumped on top of the gurney and began licking Joe’s face.

It’s hard to know how a dog finds closure or whether she was trying to revive Joe one last time. But as Lucky licked Joe’s face and said goodbye in the only way she knew, Magee and the others in the room wept. (Press Telegram)

Don’t let anyone ever tell you that dog’s don’t feel!! They literally had to drag Lucky away from Joe’s body. You’ve got to be touched by that.

And you’ve also got to be touched by this group of people who were touched by Joe and Lucky and have made it their mission to make sure that Lucky finds a wonderful home. Kudos to all those at Fire Station 2 and St. Mary’s Medical Center who are following what they know Joe’s last wishes would have been if he’d have voiced them. “Save his baby, take care of her, make sure she has a wonderful home and good life!!”


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