In July 2014 Cindy Barclay Powell put out an appeal on Facebook. “Is there anyone out there who can give this girl a home?” she wrote. She was referring to an elderly Labrador by the name of Lady. It seemed that this old girl had just gone to great lengths to escape her adoptive home – but time was running out to find her a new one.
To understand Lady’s plight, however, it’s best to hear her tale from the beginning. You see, Lady had actually had a couple of different names in the past. Indeed, when she had been living with her previous owners, Lady apparently went by the names of Ma Kettle or Pepper.
In 2012, however, Lady’s first owner died. And unfortunately, it seems that there was no one else around who’d been willing to take in the human-less dog. So with no place left to turn, Lady had ended up finding a home in the Chautauqua County Animal Shelter in Sedan, Kansas.
Kelsey Loyd was a worker in the shelter at that time. He reportedly told KWCH-TV in 2014 that Lady was a “super dog.” Indeed, he apparently said, “If I had to pick a dog, this would have been the dog I would take.” Perhaps unsurprisingly, then, Lady later found an adoptive home.
So things were seemingly looking up for Lady. And according to Today, Lady lived with this new family for roughly 18 months. However, it appears that not everybody agreed with Loyd’s assessment of the dog. Specifically, Lady’s adoptive family were unhappy with how she interacted with other pets.
Reports vary a little in regard to the exact nature of Lady’s behavior. Today, for instance, claimed that Lady began to grapple with smaller dogs. Meanwhile, KCTV stated Lady was too rowdy with the family’s pup, in addition to being in conflict with dogs smaller than her.
In any case, the outcome was the same: the family could no longer care for Lady. Yet here again, reports vary a little in the details. The KCTV report claimed that Lady was subsequently shipped back to the Sedan shelter and then later adopted for a second time. Today, however, reported that Lady’s family offered her directly to a friend of theirs.
But whatever the actual sequence of events, it is true that Lady eventually found herself living in Independence, Kansas. And if you wanted to drive from the shelter in Sedan to the new home in Independence, Google Maps reckons that that would be a distance of 37 miles exactly.
Why is the distance relevant? Well, as it turned out, Lady seemingly had no interest in making a life in Independence. Indeed, some time after being adopted, Lady upped stakes and left for Sedan. Yes, an elderly dog apparently suffering with arthritis made the 30-mile journey back to Sedan on foot.
It also appeared that Lady had a specific destination in mind: the home of her previous family. But this Homeward Bound-style story was to have a twist ending. So rather than being welcomed with open arms, Lady found that she no longer had a home to return to.
Certainly, the previous family with the small puppy reportedly still didn’t want to take Lady in. And the Independence-based family apparently didn’t want her back, either. So Lady soon found herself as a returned resident of the Chautauqua County Animal Shelter – no further forward than she had been two years previous.
That’s when Cindy Barclay Powell snapped a photo of Lady and posted a plea about her on Facebook. Fortunately, the post went viral and caught the attention of reporter Cheryl Hanna. And on July 30, 2014, Hanna published a piece on Lady in the National Pet Rescue Examiner that apparently garnered a million views.
More importantly, this article found its way to one Helen Rich. Don’t recognize the name? Well, you will almost certainly be aware of at least part of her family’s history. After all, her great-grandfather, William J. Wrigley, created the world-famous chewing gum brand that bears his last name.
In Lady, Rich had seemingly found a kindred spirit. “I’ve had to survive and endure and walk a long, long way like her,” Rich told Today, referring to her fights against breast cancer. “She endured. I endured. Her story resonated with me.” And so the stage was set for Lady’s rescue.
At that time, Rich also owned seven additional rescue dogs, and her On The Wings Of Angels Rescue initiative helps to care for many more. So Rich knew what she was getting into. “I said, ‘Chet [her assistant], get a jet, and go get my dog!’” Rich explained to Today.
And that is apparently exactly what Chet did. Indeed, Today reported that two of Rich’s assistants took a flight to the shelter in Sedan to adopt Lady. When that task was done, the pair seemingly then hopped back on the jet to fly the rescued dog to Rich’s estate in Tampa, Florida.
Shortly thereafter, Rich returned to the property to show Lady some of the love she could expect from that point on. In fact, shelter worker Loyd claimed that Lady subsequently enjoyed her new home. He told Today, “Between all the maids and the butlers, she’s being pet constantly.”
Unfortunately, however, the story must end on something of a somber note. Because in July 2015, roughly a year after Rich took her in, Lady sadly passed away. The American Kennel Club reported that the cause of Lady’s death was a malignant adrenal gland tumor.
During her last year on Earth, at least, Lady seemingly lived a very good life. And her final night was spent in the comfort of her own bed. On July 14, 2015, Rich wrote on Facebook, “The long night is over. Lady has her wings.” It is perhaps comforting to know, then, that Lady found some peace after all.