Man with ALS finds house for senior rescue canine three days earlier than dying

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But just five weeks later they took Pawpaw to the emergency room; The dog had a high fever and sepsis. He pulled through and was eventually diagnosed with megaesophagus, a disorder in which the esophagus dilates and loses its ability to move food into the stomach.

Basically, Pawpaw couldn’t keep the food low.

A friend made a custom Bailey chair so Pawpaw could eat upright. He quickly learned to get back on the phone and connect it to mealtime.

Pawpaw was diagnosed with megaesophagus, a condition in which the esophagus loses its ability to carry food to the stomach. So he eats his meals in a special Bailey chair that allows gravity to reach his stomach and stay there.Courtesy of Bernie Knobbe and Tim Belavich / Courtesy of Bernie Knobbe and Tim Belavich

“He looks like he’s at a bar to order a drink, like it’s happy hour all the time,” Knobbe said with a laugh. “He just sits with his paws on the thing as if to say, ‘OK, put it on.'”

Although meal times have become much more complicated than when Pawpaw was first adopted, the couple have no regrets. Pawpaw gets up a little slower in the morning, but even at 16 he often behaves like a puppy.

Pawpaw is a beloved member of his new family.Courtesy of Bernie Knobbe and Tim Belavich

They were moved to learn that prior to joining Weston, Pawpaw had spent about a decade helping an elderly woman with hearing loss alerting her to knocks on the door, phones, and other noises ringing. After her death, Pawpaw entered Muttville.

“We say Pawpaw spent much of his life looking after others,” Belavich said TODAY. “Now it’s time for Pawpaw to take care of it.”

Knobbe himself was adopted when he was 6 months old. So adopting dogs like Pawpaw is a worthwhile way to give something back. He hopes others will consider adopting older pets.

“Just because an older dog has a health risk or problem doesn’t mean it can’t bring tremendous joy and love to your life,” he said. “In the morning, I always say to Pawpaw, ‘I just hope John is happy with the way we deal with you. ‘And you just look him in the eye and know he’s happy to be here. In this way we are very blessed. “