It was a moment Pet Project Rescue Canine Director Lindsay Ellis will never forget. Walking into Minneapolis Animal Care & Control in 2010, she locked eyes with an old German shepherd. His name was Lukas.
“His ears looked like they had been cut with scissors; he was missing toenails and had big patches of hairless skin all over his body,” Ellis recalls. “He had my heart from the very beginning.”
Ellis called Pet Project Rescue Director Maia Rumpho-Stellpflug to brainstorm ways the rescue could help him. When she too went to meet Lukas, a woman at the shelter expressed interest in helping him but didn’t know how. Rumpho-Stellpflug agreed to rescue Lukas and provide all supplies and veterinary care if the woman would foster him. She gladly accepted.
From that fateful meeting sprung The Lukas Project, which takes terminally ill dogs and cats from high-kill shelters and places them into caring foster homes where they are made as comfortable as possible. The rescue provides any supplies and medication, and the foster family provides love — and even a little spoiling!
“Things we normally suggest for fosters not to do with their foster dogs are completely OK with Lukas Project dogs, like trips to McDonald’s for hamburgers or sleeping with the foster in their bed. Anything to make the dog or cat feel loved and happy,” Ellis says.
The Lukas Project has helped care for five dogs and one cat. It currently has three foster homes (and is always looking for more), including the home of Kim Maciej.
For the past 11 months, Maciej has fostered Lovey, a 17-year-old beagle with terminal cancer who was rescued from a hoarding situation. Though Lovey has difficulty moving around because of a tumor in her foot, she has no shortage of favorite things, including treats, meeting new people, and trips up north to the cabin. She’s also been dubbed “the queen of napping.”
Right: Foster mom Kim Maciej is (understandably!) head over heels for Miss Lovey. (Photo: Sarah Beth Photography)
When Lovey’s time comes, Maciej admits it will be hard to say goodbye. “She’s been my little sidekick for almost a year now,” she says. “But it’s all part of life and totally worth it to give her what she deserves. I hope Lovey’s legacy will prove that even dogs who are deemed ‘unadoptable’ at shelters still have a chance at a great life.”
You’ve probably heard of Miss Lovey before. In fact, she is currently gracing our Facebook page as one of this month’s cover dogs alongside King, a foster dog available through Secondhand Hounds. King won the Cover Dog Contest (Lovey came in second), but when his foster mom heard Lovey’s story, she asked if they could be photographed and featured together (cuteness!).
At top: Lovey has found a comfortable home thanks to The Lukas Project. (Photo: Sarah Beth Photography)