Woman Makes Genius Plan To Give Senior Rescue Dog A New Life

There’s no mansion in Florida where elderly dogs go to retire and play Go Fish with a neighborhood St. Bernard; there’s no apartment complex in the Hamptons serving up catered biscuits to ailing pooches recounting war stories. The truth is, there aren’t any senior citizen communities for aging dogs.

That’s why the world needs people like Kristina Helfer, who — along with her canine companion — fostered an ailing old pup to help him through a tough time in his life. What she didn’t expect, however, was that this greying mutt was still willing to learn a few new tricks…

Kristina Helfer is a New Jersey native who works in real estate. Her line of work is quite unique though: she’s the first and only pet-friendly realtor whose mission is to find homes for people and their pets alike.

Real estate isn’t the only thing that Kristina enjoys doing with her life. She’s also the adoption/foster coordinator for Wise Animal Rescue in Lake Hiawatha, New Jersey. They promise to rescue dogs of all ages and help them find their “furever” homes.

Wise Animal Rescue / Instagram

On top of all her amazing work, Kristina also makes it a point to foster animals that are in need of some extra love and care. She’s taken in dogs of all ages with the help from her pitty Frank. She nicknamed him “Nurse Frank” because he was just so good at caring for the other animals.

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One day, Kristina got an email from the New York City Animal Care Center (NYCACC) saying that they were looking for a foster home for a very old and sick dog. At that moment, Kristina knew she had to foster this dog.


That dog’s name was Tito, a chihuahua, who was listed as 15 years and 8 months old. Tito had a whole slew of medical issues. The biggest issue was that he couldn’t breathe very well due to a collapsed trachea. Kristina was determined to fill the rest of his days with love.

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When Kristina took Tito home, all he was doing was coughing and trying to breathe all day long. On top of that, Tito was unable to use his back legs. It was a difficult homecoming, but necessary, as Kristina didn’t feel Tito would’ve survived in the shelter.

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Naturally, Frank was eager to meet Tito, but Kristina needed to be careful at first — she wasn’t sure how either of them would react to the other. But she couldn’t keep Frank away. He walked right up to Tito and stuck his face up to the sick Chihuahua.

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Tito didn’t growl or flinch in the slightest. He actually used all the energy he had in him to lift his head and reach out towards Frank to give him a kiss. From that moment on Kristina knew “Nurse Frank” was here to help.

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She would pick up Tito and place him near Frank so they could be together. Tito would wiggle his way as close to Frank as humanly possible and position himself on top of Frank’s paw. Kristina recalled, “For a dog who can’t walk, to make that much physical effort to make sure he was closer to Frank, was just a sight to see.”

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This made it obvious to Kristina that they were best friends for life. When Tito was really sick, Kristina had to care for him 24/7, and that meant Frank did as well. Wherever Tito was, Frank was right there next to him.

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Frank never let Tito out of his site and never let him sit alone. Kristina wholeheartedly felt the two dogs had their own unspoken language. Frank was telling Tito it wasn’t time to leave yet.

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With Kristina and Frank’s care, Tito started to improve. In fact, within about a week of round the clock care, Tito’s breathing and cough were almost all better. Knowing that the senior pooch wasn’t ready to leave this world yet, Kristina started thinking of ways to give him the best possible life.

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Since Tito didn’t have the use of his back legs, she couldn’t take him for walks or to the park like a normal dog. This is when she got the most brilliant idea…

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She purchased a dog vest with pockets on the side for Frank. Then, she picked up Tito and secured him into one of the side pockets. Instantly, a grin from ear to ear appeared on Tito’s face.

Hoboken Girl

To no surprise at all, “Nurse Frank’s” caring instincts kicked in. He was constantly aware that Tito was on his side. He would look back and check to make sure that Tito was okay. But as much as Frank helped Tito, the little dog helped Frank out just as much.

Hoboken Girl

See, Frank was found in a junkyard completely terrified. Kristina wanted to adopt him because she knew a junkyard pit bull like Frank would be hard to get out of shelters. She knew it would be a lot of work, but she didn’t know how much he was affected.

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Frank suffered from severe anxiety and trauma from his life on the streets. Fostering other dogs helped Frank learn to not be so afraid of everyday things, but none of the dogs impacted Frank the way Tito did.

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Tito was a very confident dog and through that confidence, Frank’s anxiety seemed to have leveled out a bit. There were still good days and bad days, but Kristina stated she felt it was almost like Frank wanted some of Tito’s confidence to rub off on him.

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Kristina said, “To see this bond between a breed of dog that is just so maliciously stereotyped and this little Chihuahua, it’s just… it’s beautiful.” It truly was and is a tale of unbreakable friendship.

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As of autumn 2018, Tito’s condition was somewhat stable. Kristina and Frank continued to shower him with love and care, and they would continue to enjoy each day as they came. Kristina was excited to celebrate the holidays with her favorite boys.

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The teeny-weeny, elderly Tito was warmly welcomed into the family by the gentlest of pitties, the size contrast making the friendship even more adorable. But they’re not the first of their kind; when one large Belgian shepherd befriended a tiny creature, people couldn’t help but gush.

Clifford the Big Red Dog

Poldi the owl didn’t hatch until six days after his other brothers and sisters. Being so late to hatch meant that Poldi missed the opportunity to bond with the other owls. Unfortunately, this meant he would be lonely for the rest of his life…

Luckily for Poldi, that didn’t happen, and it was all thanks to Ingo the Belgian shepherd! Their beautiful and highly unusual friendship has been captured on film by German photographer and animal lover Tanja Brandt.

Poldi—which is short for Napoleon—wasn’t just the last owlet of his clutch of eggs to be born; he was also the smallest. His size alone made him exceptionally vulnerable to predators. Because of this fact, Poldi would never be able to live free in the wild.

However, the one year old owlet didn’t seem to mind this fact in the least, and it was all due to his love for Ingo. Poldi might’ve been small and vulnerable, but his unlikely best friend came from a long line of fearsome police dogs!

Both animals are now Brandt’s pets, although at the beginning it was just her and Ingo. She and the dog would watch the owl’s nest in a tree by their house every day, and when it became clear that Poldi’s egg had been abandoned by his mother for failing to hatch, Brandt and Ingo took over.

Brandt said that the relationship between Ingo and Poldi was that of protector and his charge, but it also went deeper than that. Even though Ingo was much bigger than Poldi, they still spent their days snuggling, napping, and just generally enjoying each other’s company.

Because Poldi has known Ingo since birth, he had no reason to be afraid of the sweet, gentle giant. They spent their days exploring the acres of land on Brandt’s property. Sometimes, when Poldi got tired, he simply rested on Ingo’s head and let the dog do the walking for them both.

Brandt said that the duo was every bit as close as their portraits conveyed. These two didn’t need a lot of fancy toys to keep them happy! All they needed was the other’s company—and nothing could ever make them more content.

Because Brandt spent each and every day with the unlikely pair, she was able to capture all sorts of intimate photographs of the two—like this funny shot of the partners in crime begging for scraps from Brandt’s dinner plate!

Even when Ingo felt like roughhousing—as dogs tend to do—Poldi wasn’t scared off! Just check out this adorable image of the dog chomping down on some springtime blossoms while Poldi looked on with interest (and, yes, a little bit of confusion).

The relationship between these adorable creatures serves as an important reminder to everyone about the power of friendship. While they might’ve been very different, neither of them seemed to mind one bit. Instead, they focused on what united them.

Even snowy conditions couldn’t stop these two from enjoying each other’s company. It might’ve been a little cold outside, but Ingo was happy to use his thick fur coat to keep Poldi nice and warm, even when he was sitting on a pile of snow.

Don’t you wish that you could read their minds? It’s clear that these two spoke in their own special language, but what on Earth could they even have to talk about in the first place? Nests? Smells? Scheduling their next nap time?

While these two might have been born into different families and different species, it was clear that they considered themselves to be brothers. Their friendship wasn’t one-sided: Poldi felt protected around Ingo, and Ingo had a loyal companion to nuzzle and play with.

While Brandt’s posed portraits were certainly lovely, there was something even more charming about all of the quiet, candid moments she caught on film. Look at Ingo just lying back and relaxing with his owl friend!

While Poldi might still have been just a young owl, it was clear that he had an old soul. His friendship with Ingo was certainly one in a million. How lucky were they that they lived with a woman who was able to capture their feelings for each other so eloquently?

Because Poldi was so young—and because both of these animals lived under Brandt’s supervision—they would have plenty of time to savor being in each other’s company. Surely as time went by they would only learn to love each other even more.

It just goes to show you that you don’t need to have anything in common with someone to forge a bond that will pass the test of time. If you doubt it, just look at these two and be reminded of how love doesn’t see with anything other than the heart.

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