The world has lost a beautiful canine soul. Aladdin, 2017 American Humane Hero Dog award winner, State Farm’s “Kindness is Powerful” ambassador, and beloved therapy dog, passed away this week. Laddy was all these things and so much more. He was a survivor, a hero, and most of all, a friend to all who knew him.
Aladdin overcame a life of abuse and neglect to become a source of inspiration both in-person and online to his 34,000 thousand Aladdin Nation followers.
From Surviving to Thriving
Laddy’s story began in 2013 when he was rescued by Lilo’s Promise, a group devoted to saving bully breeds from shelters and urgent situations. Foster mom Michele Schaffer-Stevens specialized in caring for emaciated rescue dogs, and Aladdin definitely fit the bill. Despite his fractured tail, poorly-healed broken legs, and multiple other injuries and ailments, Aladdin was trusting and loving from the start.
“Aladdin was found severely abused and emaciated, missing 12 teeth and with open wounds,” Michele wrote in his American Hero Dog Awards profile. “From the moment I met him, his little tail never stopped wagging, despite his horrific condition.”
Aladdin’s condition was so severe Michele feared he might not recover. But with healthy food, excellent veterinary care, and lots of love, Laddy put on weight and began to show his true personality.
The Perfect Foster “Fail”
Sweet, gentle, and easygoing, Aladdin fit seamlessly into Michele’s family along with her human children and three other dogs. One day, during an adoption event, it dawned on her: Laddy belonged with her. She couldn’t imagine her home without him in it. Michele officially adopted Aladdin then and there.
Within a year, he was a certified therapy dog, visiting hospitals, schools, and nursing homes. Whether he was comforting a patient with a terminal illness or giving a child the confidence to read out loud, Aladdin excelled.
“He was the most amazing therapy dog I’ve ever seen,” Michele wrote in a Facebook tribute. “He knew exactly what someone needed before I did. He was famous for approaching strangers at the airport and othe public places…whimpering until I let him go see them and sure enough each person had been through a recent tragedy.”
Aladdin Goes to Work
Laddy adored all humans but had a special place in his heart for children. He was a Ronald McDonald House ambassador dog and helped fight bullying by teaching school kids tolerance and compassion. As the furry face of Lilo’s Promise Animal Rescue, he busted myths about Pit Bull-type dogs.
He was even chosen as a spokespup for the Show Your Soft Side campaign against animal abuse. Posing with famous “tough guy” and Philadelphia Eagles kicker Jon Dorenbos, he showed young people that real men and women don’t hurt animals.
When he wasn’t busy making the world a better place, Aladdin loved swimming at the Jersey shore and spending quality time with family. He had ten wonderful years with Michele, but no amount of time is ever enough with our beloved dogs.
“Yesterday morning at 8 am, my heart shattered into a million pieces,” Michele wrote after his passing. “I lost my baby. The light of my life. I know how much he meant to all of you, those who had met him and those who loved him from afar. He was the toughest little soldier I ever met, beating severe abuse, cancer, heart surgery and many other obstacles in his life. Despite everything he went through he brought love to everyone he met.”
Michele asked her followers to honor Aladdin’s memory by donating to Show Your Soft Side or the Ronnie Stanley Foundation; sponsoring a Lilo’s Promise dog; or buying one of Laddy’s books to donate to their “local library, school library or someone who needs a little love.”
Featured Image via Facebook/Aladdin Nation