A simple hug made a Philadelphia woman’s final walk with her beloved family pet a little bit less difficult.
Maura Jones of the Graduate Hospital neighborhood turned to the Schuylkill Nextdoor community site to thank the random stranger that comforted her.
"To the stranger who saw me crying in the street this morning as I walked my dog one last time before I had to let her go – who hugged me and told me everything was going to be OK – thank you," Jones posted Monday.
The touching moment happened just in front of the home where Jones has lived for just the past six months but it touched a nerve with new and old residents of the Philadelphia neighborhood that is a short walk from both the Rittenhouse Square and Point Breeze neighborhoods.
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"This is what’s great about our neighborhood," read one reply.
Jones, a 31-year-old researcher, made the tough choice to put down Penny, a Corgi Chihuahua mix, after Penny stopped responding to medication to treat an August diagnosis of congestive heart failure, she told NBC10.
"I've lost family dogs before, but this was the first time I lost my dog," Jones said.
She took Penny for one last walk before saying goodbye. The family estimated Penny to be around 8 years old but the veterinarian who euthanized Penny estimated her age to be closer to 14 years old.
Penny came into Jones and her husband’s life about five years ago when they lived in upstate New York. Penny was found abandoned on the side of a country road in Tennessee before giving Jones and her husband that "I’m your dog" look at an adoption fair in New York, Jones said.
"She and my other dog were the only friends as we got used to our new lives here," Jones said. "She was there when we brought our baby home from the hospital, she reluctantly accepted the baby into our home and allowed my husband and I time to transition into parenthood. She was so sweet and appreciative of the life we gave her.
"She was my best friend. I miss her with every ounce."
The woman who hugged Jones told her she also recently lost a beloved dog and "understood the anguish involved with losing your dog," Jones said.
After her post to Nextdoor, Jones learned that the woman who comforted her is Bridget Clancey.
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"She understood the anguish involved with losing your dog – especially when you have to make that decision to let her go," Jones said. "She told me (Penny) was going to heaven, she just knew it. I couldn't say anything through my tears except thank you."
Jones appreciated the support she has received during a tough time for pet owners.
"Losing a dog is a common experience many people share," Jones said. "It hits everyone differently. It's so common and yet so isolating at the same time because not a lot of people share in your pain when you lose a pet. There are people out there who understand that loss all too well.
"I am so moved by her kindness to a stranger struggling with grief. I am also moved by the numerous people who have private messaged me their words of support and sympathy."