Georgia Woman Pays Touching Tribute to Shelter Dog Following Death

Chester the dog died in his home on Friday, July 10.

July 13, 2015, 3:59 PM
PHOTO: Nicole Elliot of Columbus, Ga. adopted Chester the dog, who is in very poor health.
Nicole Elliot of Columbus, Ga. adopted Chester the dog, who is in very poor health.
Courtesy Nicole Elliot

— -- Chester, the terminally ill senior rescue dog whose final days were memorialized online, has died.

"He passed on Friday and he kind of went downhill pretty fast," owner Nicole Elliot told ABC News. "I stayed with him all day and he passed in my arms. I just petted him and [was] telling him it was OK to let go.

"He was surrounded by love when he went," she said

Elliot, 24, brought Chester home from Animal Ark Rescue in Columbus, Georgia, on June 27.

"They rescued him from a high-kill shelter in April after he was surrendered over from his previous owners," Elliot said July 6. "He had a huge tumor on the top of his head and they wanted someone to take him for his final days. The next day, I got there right before they opened."

To make his final moments worthwhile, Elliot planned little adventures for Chester and documented his experiences on a donation site for Animal Ark Rescue and his Facebook page, where she wrote a touching tribute to her pup.

"I am so sad to tell everyone that my sweet baby Chester has left this world," Elliot posted. "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. 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."

Prior to his death, Elliot said, Chester's journey included a visit to a water stream, a hot dog lunch from Nathan's restaurant, a shopping spree and, recently, a photo shoot to remember him by.

"That was about the last thing we did together," Elliot said. "He also got tons of love and treats. I was expecting to have a little more time with him."

After she shared his story on Facebook, Elliot said, Chester's Final Journey inspired people to adopt senior and terminally ill animals.

"Chester's legacy will live on. It really has," she said. "I feel like Chester's legacy is to help a lot of animals like him.

"I encourage anyone who wants to do the same thing to do it," she added. "My heart is broken from losing him, but it makes me want to do it again because of how great he was."

Elliot said she is currently searching for another pet to bring home who may not have the best chances of finding a family.

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