Churchill, Las Vegas, NV

Hi! My name is Church! My story started on February 7, 2013, in the Las Vegas county shelter.

I was the big white dog with no name other than A697798, sitting in the isolation room. It was here that a couple of animal rescuers from Little Friends Foundation would stumble upon me, and I would change their lives forever.

I was not on their list of dogs to pick up that day — they only had room for three. Luckily, one dog was in the same isolation room with me. When they rounded the corner, I put my giant paw against the gate and started wagging my tail. They all knew instantly that I was coming home with them one way or another.

Unfortunately, the 72-hour mandatory stray hold made it impossible for them to take me home that day, but driving home that afternoon none of them could keep their minds off me. They decided then to name me Churchill, and while they didn’t realize it at the time my legacy had just begun.

They received a call a few days later when I was supposed to be neutered and picked up that they had discovered a stage 5 heart murmur. The staff were uncomfortable putting me under anesthesia. The rescuers weren’t terribly worried — they had previously taken in a Chihuahua with a stage 5 heart murmur that was ultimately unaffected by the diagnosis…

Well, this was not the case with me.

On February 21, 2013, I had an echocardiogram at the Las Vegas Specialty Center and was diagnosed with Severe Subaortic Stenosis (Severe SAS). The general life expectancy with this condition is 1-2 years. I was barely 2 years old. With medication and little to no exercise, sometimes, dogs with Severe SAS can live longer.

My rescuers were all in shock…and a bit hysterical. For the next few days, it really seemed like time stood still for them.

Once they could think, once they realized that time couldn’t freeze, they got moving. They knew in their hearts that I was sent to them for a reason — they weren’t sure what that reason was just yet, but they knew there was something. In the meantime, what could we possibly do for me?

The answer they came up with was seemingly obvious: make sure however much time I have left is the best time I’ve ever had.

My bucket list was started, and we slowly but surely started checking things off. Once that was off the ground, my rescuers realized that I was gaining popularity and overtaking LFF’s Facebook page. They figured the only way to manage it would be to create a Facebook page of my own: Churchill the Polar Bear.

We had no idea it would take off the way it did. Within days I had 1,000 fans!

Before we even really knew what was happening, people from all over the country were captivated and wanted to help make my life the best it could possibly be. Everyone moved forward to help me accomplish his bucket list items as well as create new ones. My rescuers were all completely stunned by the love and support suddenly surrounding me, a dog that less than a month ago didn’t even have a name.

Shortly after my diagnosis, I was taken home by one of LFF emplsoyees…and she recently adopted me!!

I now spend my days talking to all of my friends online, going to work with my mom, and playing with my 4 brother dogs, 2 human brothers, and my exponential amount of aunts and uncles. I continue to check items off my bucket list.

Check out this one: #20. Visit Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, UT!! 🙂

“#33. Have a Foundation in My Name” has been on my bucket list for quite some time but we just weren’t entirely sure when or how to make that a reality. Then LFF — the shelter that rescued me and became my family the last two years — announced they were closing due to circumstances beyond their control. Suddenly it became clear as to why we were all meant for each other.

So we are starting The Churchill Foundation, a place where homeless animals can find solace and find out what life is suppose to be like. A place where the stigma of shelter animals is disposed, and they are looked at more as treasure than trash. Just like me.

My humans told me that as much as they saved me, I have saved all of them too in a thousand different ways. I’ve shown them not only an inordinate amount of strength and courage, but when they all need it the most, I’m showing them that it’s not time to quit just yet.

So instead of quitting, we start a new journey and do it with a courage that anything is possible.

The foundation is going to be a place to truly makes a difference in the lives of the animals we save. A place that impacts the community and the people within just as much as the animals. A place where people can feel like part of the solution and not the problem. A place that we’ll call home.

This is our dream and we are building it to carry on my legacy long after I leave this earth.

I’m Churchill the Polar Bear. I’m a shelter dog living with a terminal heart condition. I’m goofy, a bit clumsy and  slow moving, but I’m loved and probably one of the happiest, most spoiled dogs you’ll ever meet.

~ Church 🙂

Parent: Lara

From Churchill’s people: We’d like you to join us on our journey. Be a part of The Churchill Foundation: Like us on Facebook, donate and share Churchill’s story — help us write the next chapter. Thank you.