Chester, the cancer-stricken little dog who touched hearts around the world after he was adopted last month by a Georgia woman and spoiled with a “bucket list” of treats, has died.
His owner, Nicole Elliott, announced the news Friday afternoon on the Facebook page she created for the dog, who was estimated to be about 14 years old.
“I have written and erased this post several times, because I feel like once it’s up it makes it feel so final,” Elliott wrote. “I am so sad to tell everyone that my sweet baby Chester has left this world.
“I am heartbroken, but at the same time I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. I held him until his last breath and then some. I told him it was ok to let go, and how loved he was.”
Elliott, 24, had responded in late June to a “hospice needed” post about Chester on Animal Ark Rescue, a no-kill animal shelter in Columbus, Georgia. She adopted him, brought him home and brightened his final days with extra food, oatmeal milk baths and outings to parks.
“I only hope someone would do the same for me if I was terminally ill,” she told CNN on Tuesday. “I think he deserves it. He seems to have been neglected in his past life.”
The mixed-breed dog’s last chapter was documented on a Facebook page, “Chester’s final journey,” that attracted an outpouring of support from more than 73,000 fans and brought Chester worldwide media attention.
By late Friday afternoon, more than 8,000 people had posted condolences.
“I know without a doubt Chester died knowing that he mattered. He knew love. Even though my heart hurts now, the pain is eased by the legacy this sweet boy is leaving behind,” Elliott wrote in her last post.
“He is now pain free and running around with all of your babies that have gone before him. Chester’s journey with us was too short lived, but his presence with us will never be forgotten.”