When Kathleen Zuidema was diagnosed with late stage 4 lung cancer, she worried about her family. In her case, this meant her three beloved Australian shepherds. With her health declining, Zuidema, of Friday Harbor in Washington State, needed to find Mona, Finnegan, and Autumn a new home.
She said it was the hardest thing she’s ever had to do.
Enter Facebook. Zuidema decided to put out a call on social media in search of a loving, local family willing to adopt her dogs, or her “Aussie Posse,” as she calls them. Within days, her post went viral. Zuidema and her beautiful dogs became famous around the globe.
The good news is that the Aussie Posse has now found a loving home nearby, as Zuidema had hoped. The sad news is that Zuidema’s health is worse. “It’s getting real now,” she told Q13 Fox news. “Pain level and chemotherapy are no fun.”
Danielle Cochran, who also lives on San Juan Island, heard that the dogs were still looking for a home when she visited the local pet store. She walked over to Zuidema’s home and knocked on the door. She and her husband already have two dogs, and are advocates for dog rescue and adoption.
It was the right fit. For now, the Aussie Posse will spend increasing amounts of time with the Cochrans as they transition to their new home.
Zuidema is both relieved and heartbroken.
“I got everything I wanted … except for the dying part,” she says.
Zuidema is the kind of pet parent whose dedication to her dogs is truly inspiring. Her story touched the hearts of many. In fact, when her Facebook appeal went viral, so did her crowdfunding page. Thanks to the generosity of fellow dog lovers from around the world, Zuidema can stop worrying about her medical bills. She’s also able to help build a new fence for the Cochrans, so her dogs can enjoy plenty of yard time in their new home.
All photos via Kathleen Zuidema’s Facebook / Amber Chenoweth photography