Nurse Comes Up With A Genius Solution For Old Abandoned Dogs That’s Spreading Like Wildfire

Unfortunately, everyone feels the effects of aging and eventually slows down. Even our pets are no exception; there comes a time when Fido simply can’t run and jump like a young pup anymore. At that point, all we can do for our loved ones, whether they are human or animal, is try to keep them comfortable and happy.

One retired nurse in the United Kingdom, however, noticed that older dogs weren’t receiving the care that she felt they deserved. As a proud dog-lover, she just couldn’t stand for this. So, she came up with an ingenious solution to help spread the puppy love.

Nicola Coyle had a knack for taking care of people. But after it came time for her to retire from her career as a nurse, she needed something to fill that void. What she was really looking for was a new way to help those in need.

The Grey Canine Muzzle Hospice Project

She always had a soft spot for dogs and considered combining her two life-long passions. Maybe there was a way, she thought, to help take care of dogs facing one dishearteningly common situation.

The Grey Canine Muzzle Hospice Project

While everyone loves their dog, sometimes life gets in the way. All sorts of scenarios, ranging from moving into a new home to a sudden case of allergies, can mean a family has to give up their pet.

Some dogs end up finding new homes, but all too many end up abandoned and stranded in animal shelters. Unfortunately, a dog’s prospects of escape mainly come down to luck of the draw.


Young or distinctive pups have a better chance of getting adopted, thanks to their desirability. But, Nicola knew, not every dog has what it takes to catch the eye of a potential owner.

Rena Chan Le/ Youtube

Unfortunately, dogs who are older or have medical issues are viewed as undesirable. Those dogs are stuck; they are often destined to spend the rest of their lives in a cage before being put down.

Nicola couldn’t believe how many old dogs were suffering alone through no fault of their own. She decided to use an idea from her nursing days to try to help them feel special.

In medicine, hospice care focuses on providing comfort to terminally ill patients. When someone has less than six months to live, the focus shifts towards making sure they see out their final days as painlessly as possible.

Nicola applied that concept to canine care. Before long, she started hashing out the logistics of bringing the needy pets home, and soon, The Grey Muzzle Canine Hospice Project was born.

The Grey Muzzle Canine Hospice Project/ Facebook

She adopted two dogs at a time, ensuring that every pooch received enough individualized attention. In order to be considered for the project, dogs had to have less than six months to live.

The Grey Muzzle Canine Hospice Project/ Facebook

Once the dog was home, however, Nicola didn’t waste any time. She wanted to help each pet make up for all the lonely days it had spent in the shelter. Special treats abounded.

Jo Lyons Photography

Each dog got to take as many car rides as he or she wanted. Most of those ended with a stop at McDonald’s for a sweet treat, too. Drive-thru adventures weren’t the only trips the dogs took.

The Grey Muzzle Canine Hospice Project/ Facebook

“If they’re well enough, we take them for a day at the seaside,” Nicola explained. “They get fish and chips on the beach and ice cream.” There’s also plenty of social interaction for the dogs who want to branch out.

The Grey Muzzle Canine Hospice Project/ Facebook

Nicola also takes her new pals to a pet-friendly pub near her home. That gives them a chance to get all the belly rubs and scratches they could ever want before enjoying a steak dinner!

Each dog also gets their own birthday party, regardless of their date of birth. The festivities come complete with cake and a hat; every dog has a chance to feel special and be celebrated.

Unfortunately, each dog’s time eventually comes to an end. Nicola personally comforts every pet for as long as possible. She then buries their remains in a special section of her yard. It all takes a toll on her.

AlienGiraffe/ Reddit

“It can be an utterly heartbreaking job, but someone has to do it,” she said. “I just can’t bear the thought of them spending their final days, weeks, or months without the love they deserve.”

While the elderly dogs surely appreciate Nicola’s work, they cannot say “thank you” themselves. Other people have noticed her work, however, and are quick to praise her tireless dedication to the pups.

The Grey Muzzle Canine Hospice Project/ Facebook

“Nicola does an amazing job, taking in dogs when they’ve been kicked out by their owners right at the very end of their lives,” Joanne Snaith, of Helping Yorkshire Poundies said. One aspect of her work particularly stands out.

Ian Phillips/ Flickr

“For Nicola, she has to put herself through the emotional wringer with every dog,” Snaith concluded. “I can’t imagine how difficult that is.” It’s not an easy job, but Coyle simply can’t say no to a pup in need.

The Grey Muzzle Canine Hospice Project/ Facebook

Thankfully, she’s not alone in her efforts to give abandoned dogs love. Halfway across the world, Theoklitos Proestakis — better known as Takis — has quite the reputation with the dogs of Crete.

The Greek man practiced dentistry in the picturesque town of Ierapetra, and neither he nor his neighbors ever thought they could ask for more. But by 2009, their dream lifestyles began to crumble.

The global financial crisis hit Greece extremely hard, and the following years saw the country’s debt and unemployment skyrocket. As some households lost everything, riots and protests broke out on the streets.

All over the isle of Crete, families made heartbreaking decisions to save money, particularly when it came to their pets. Some people abandoned their animals out in the wilderness. Others did much worse.

YouTube / The Dodo

The aftermath nearly broke Takis. A lifelong canine lover, he couldn’t believe it when he drove past a local landfill. Countless dogs had made it their home, and they were fighting over scraps to survive.

Facebook / Takis Shelter

Unable to bear the sight of these poor animals suffering, the dentist gave them some relief. He snuck through the fence and poured a bag of dog food in a clearing. As the dogs scarfed it up, Takis noticed many of them were in dire need of medical attention.

Facebook / Takis Shelter

For the weakest pooches, Takis called in some favors from doctor friends to nurse them back to health. Still, he knew this was a short-term solution. If these dogs stayed out in the open, most of them would die.

Fortunately, an open stretch of land on the outskirts of Ierapetra presented a solution. Takis figured that it could function as a temporary sanctuary for the abandoned dogs. At the very least, it would be better than living in the dump.

Facebook / Takis Shelter

In 2012, the Cretan began moving the neglected pooches to the site, which he dubbed the Takis Shelter. He hoped the dogs could hole up there until they found permanent homes, though the situation immediately proved more complicated than he imagined.

Facebook / Takis Shelter

Some neighbors complained about the noise from the dogs, and a few hotheads even threatened violence. Nevertheless, Takis blocked out their insults and warnings. He had enough to deal with inside his own organization.

YouTube / Ruptly

As more dogs entered the shelter, his costs spiraled out of control. For one thing, he spent nearly $2,000 per month just feeding all the pooches. But some had even more expensive needs.

YouTube / Takis Shelter

A number of the dogs weren’t spayed or neutered, so Takis paid for these operations out-of-pocket to keep his shelter population from spiraling out of control. Before long, he took extreme measures to keep everything from going under.

Takis essentially gave up his old life! He already left dentistry behind to care for Crete’s abandoned dogs, but soon enough, he also had to sell his home and his car just to pay the bills. There was almost nothing left for him.

From there on out, the Takis Shelter also became the home of its founder. He slept and took his meals right alongside the animals he was rescuing and feeding. Many people would’ve considered this rock bottom.

Facebook / Takis Shelter

But strangely enough, Takis felt more fulfilled than ever before. While there was no denying that his new life was hard, he knew he was really making a difference. And word about his mission started to get around too.

The Pappas Post

As the population of the shelter approached 200, Takis felt increasingly overwhelmed, but he wouldn’t be alone for long. Both friends and strangers from Ierapetra began to show up at the gates. They wanted to lend a helping hand.

Facebook / Takis Shelter

Though not everyone had the time to volunteer, many more aided Takis’ efforts in their own ways. Crates of food and pet supplies, mostly from other countries, arrived on his doorstep. Suddenly, Takis had enough support to do more than just scrape by.

Takis Shelter

As a matter of fact, Takis opened up a new branch of the shelter specifically for abandoned house cats. After all, dogs weren’t the only ones kicked out of their homes after the recession.

Takis Shelter

In time, Takis Shelter finally began achieving its ultimate goal: finding permanent homes for their pets. Delighted visitors swarmed in to find a new family member and left with huge smiles on their faces.

The Nomad Pup

For Takis, it’s bittersweet to see his canine pals leave him, but he knows they’re off to a better place. He continues to pull unfortunate pups out of landfills and alleys every day, though now he’s sure he’s not just giving them shelter. He’s giving them hope.

Instagram / Takis Shelter

After all, there’s no sight more joyful that a new dog adoption. Have you ever been so excited you had to bite something? If not, then you’ve never been on the same happiness level of this golden doodle pup, who for went the lame-duck version of “got your nose” by literally getting his new owner’s schnoz.

talkingxbird / reddit

She found this pup on the side of the road and was going to bring her to the local shelter, but then she saw her face, and, well… let’s just say she ended up bringing her back to her own house! Can you blame her?

FuzzyManPeach / reddit

If you adopt a dog and she immediately poses for a selfie with you while grinning ear-to-ear, it’s safe to say you made a good choice! It’s nothing but clear skies for these two besties from here on out.

Hi-sup / Reddit

As the classic club song once decreed, putting your hands in the air is strictly reserved for those who just don’t care. But don’t tell this pup that! She and her new family couldn’t have looked more excited about their future of friendship.

Lort Smith / Facebook

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then all thousand words for this one would be some variation of awwww over and over. The look of total relaxation and comfort on this dog’s face says it all.

Zombeejeesus / reddit

A really memorable morning might include breakfast in bed, but a puppy wakeup call seems a whole lot better than a tray of toast, bacon, and coffee. All you need his one look at this cuddly doggo’s face for proof!

Covino & Rich / Youtube

What’s cuter than a puppy and his new owner gazing lovingly into one another’s eyes? You can tell they’re thinking of the next dozen or so years of friendship. That, or this doggo is hoping to borrow the keys to the car.

Budzsta / Reddit

A little sunshine and a hug from a new owner—what more could a dog want? Not a whole lot judging by the look on this girl’s face! Her gleeful expression would’ve looked perfectly in place in a shampoo ad.

Megan Jordan / Facebook

That’s a big smile for a little dog! Of course, Tata the pup couldn’t help herself after she’d finally been adopted and taken back to her forever home. And because of her happiness, her new owner couldn’t help but smile, too!

Nicoletta Licciardi / Facebook

Every year he asked for a puppy for Christmas, and every year, his wife declined. That’s another mouth to feed, after all. But one year, his Christmas wish was finally granted, and he couldn’t keep the shock off of his face!

Alyssa Goodwin / Youtube

If adventurers ever found the legendary Fountain of Youth, chances are, it would be a 10-foot-deep pit full to the brim with puppies. Nothing energizes a person or makes them smile like a puppy, and this senior citizen who just met her new companion knows that better than anyone!

I_Speak_Australian / reddit

There’s no doubt that being a police officer must be one of the most stressful jobs on the entire planet. Cops tend to have a tough exterior while on duty, but this officer couldn’t help but melt when he hugged his new puppy!

Panhandle Welfare Society / Facebook

When this woman adopted her new pooch, she couldn’t help but cradle him like her a newborn baby. Judging by the look on this dog’s face, he didn’t mind that at all! He was ready for a lifetime of love.

Allie Lucchetti / Facebook

As this Reddit user put it: “I went to adopt a dog and ended up with a bear.” He didn’t seem too upset about it! Now with a big doggo at his side, he’ll be able to tackle anything the future might hold.

wiioz / reddit

There’s a certain stigma that comes with adopting an older dog—they tend to have a variety of health issues—but this guy didn’t care when he picked out this pretty pooch. They posed for a quick picture outside the shelter, where she really nailed the adorable lolling tongue!

wickedsmaht / reddit

It’s hard to tell the difference between a well-formed “Can we keep him?” face and an “I love this dog so much face,” but rest assured, this girl’s making both! You can tell there’s a lot of love in this pup’s future!

project_seven / reddit

Emotions can run wild when you meet a new pet for the first time, and perhaps there’s no greater proof than this guy’s reaction. When his significant other surprised him with a new dog, he broke down in tears.

DarkSpirit_ / reddit

You bring your new dog home, and what’s the first thing you’re gonna do? Throw a backyard party with your new pooch, that’s what! Maybe if you’re lucky, the dog will even make the same face as you when you pose for a selfie.

zackbusselsd / reddit

The woman in this photo suffered from depression. Life, to her, felt incredibly hopeless. When she finally felt she was on firm ground again, emotionally, she treated herself to a little puppy. This single snapshot captures the beauty of the moment she took him home.


What’s the best cure for a grumpy dad who just wants to watch Netflix? Why, a puppy of course! (This is also the cure for everything, by the way.) The question is, who won this staring contest?

RathskellerDweller / reddit

They say there’s no medicine quite like a child’s laughter, but maybe children sleeping with their canine best friend for the next decade or so is a close pharmaceutical second. Rest now, fellas, ’cause there’s gonna be a whole lot of playing when you wake up!

Happiness Heroes / Facebook

Oddly, this photo looks like a scene ripped right out of a Pixar movie… or a photo from a pamphlet on the joys of dog ownership. Either way, it’s hard not to want to give your own pooch a hug after getting a load of this kid!

logically / reddit

As one Reddit commenter pointed out, the camera may have been quick enough to catch this protruding puppy’s tongue, but it still couldn’t capture his fast-flicking tail! The picture practically bleeds enthusiasm.

tinkerlane / reddit

Their faces said it all: the little girl, overcome with glee at her new Christmas gift, perhaps thinking about a future of mischief with this new pup; the pup, that placid, tongue-lolling look, couldn’t make a better “I’m a puppy” face if he or she tried!


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