Healthcare workers at Martin Luther King Hospital in Compton, California, are used to witnessing emotional scenes — it comes with the territory.
But recently, they took in a patient who was in critical condition, and the love they witnessed at his feet moved them to tears.
The patient lived within view of the hospital, and workers watched his beloved dog follow the ambulance the whole way there.
The dog ran the short distance to the hospital’s emergency room, stopping just in time to see her owner being wheeled into the building.
Having never left her owner’s side, the dog tried to follow him through the emergency room’s entrance, but she was promptly stopped at the doors.
“Security watched the dog follow the ambulance all the way to the emergency room,” Suzette Hall, founder of Logan’s Legacy dog rescue, told The Dodo. “She tried to go in, but they wouldn’t let her.”
Defeated and concerned, the pup stared at the door where she last saw her owner, expecting him to come out shortly after. What she didn’t know was that her human had already passed away.
“She didn’t know, so she just kept waiting,” Hall said. “Every time someone would walk out, she would look to see if they were her dad, but they never were.”
The workers who watched her every day had no way of conveying the devastating news to her. They wanted to rescue the dog from the parking lot, but she refused to go.
“This sweet little baby girl literally waited 10 days,” Hall said. “All the nurses and doctors were trying to help her, but she just wouldn’t let anybody get her.”
The pup’s prolonged stay outside without proper shelter and nutrition was already a concern for the hospital staff and Hall, who was eventually called to assist.
But with an unprecedented storm threatening the area, a timely rescue was more important than ever.
“We had this horrible hurricane warning and bad rain, but she waited,” Hall said. “She slept there in the rain. She’s so loyal.”
After 10 days, the dog, later named Hilary for the hurricane pouring over her, was weaker than ever. Her persistent and undying love for her deceased owner had come to a breaking point.
Lured by the scent of warm treats, Hilary eventually walked into Hall’s humane trap. Hall understood the pup’s grief all too well and enveloped her as soon as she could.
“I just snuggled her and snuggled her,” Hall said.
Hall was relieved to have Hilary safe in her care, but she could tell that the pup was still thinking about her first true love.
“The saddest part is, even after I trapped her, she was still looking straight ahead at the emergency room door, like, ‘He’s gotta be coming out,’” Hall said. “It was such an emotional rescue for me.”
Hall let the pup say one last goodbye to Martin Luther King Hospital staff before driving her straight to Camino Pet Hospital, where she would finally be able to recover from the inside out.
“She’s still mourning,” Hall said. “But we’re going to find her the perfect home. She just needs to heal first.”
Hilary’s in great care, and Hall is confident that she’ll meet her forever family soon.
In the meantime, Hilary will keep receiving love from inside the pet hospital instead of sleeping outside the one for humans.