Senior dog discovered lying on late owner's chest in the snow finds new home

When California resident Lisa Lomeli arrived at an animal shelter to meet a cattle dog named Baby Dog, the staff at Placer County Animal Services warned her that the dog was traumatized and pretty “shut down.”On Jan. 31, a search party had found Baby Dog in the snow protecting the body of his owner, David Deshon, who died after his car got stuck during a snowstorm in a rural area near Sacramento, California. Deshon, Baby Dog and his other dog, Buddy, had been missing for several days when Buddy made it to a neighbor’s house, barking and clawing at the door for help.
That helped the searchers know to continue looking in the area. Meanwhile, Baby Dog stayed on her owner’s chest, trying to keep him warm and providing faithful companionship until the very end. Lomeli happens to be neighbors with Deshon’s daughter, who had galvanized the community to search for her dad and his beloved dogs. She told Lomeli it was comforting to know her dad didn’t die alone and how heartbroken she felt that she couldn’t take in his dogs since work keeps her away from home so much.
Baby Dog stayed at Placer County Animal Services in Auburn, California, after a search party found him in the snow lying on his late owner's chest.Courtesy of Placer County Animal Services

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“She was telling me, ‘No matter how bad I want them because they’re a part of my dad and I love those dogs, if I can’t give them the attention they need, it’s not fair to the dogs. I have to think about what’s best for them.’ And that was very selfless of her,” Lomeli told TODAY.

While she learned about Baby Dog’s loyalty to her late owner, Lomeli started thinking about someone else who could benefit from that kind of devotion: her mom, Peggy Morrill.Morrill has been battling cancer during the pandemic. Just a few months before her diagnosis, she lost her own loyal dog, a black Lab named Raelyn who always stayed by her side. Morrill longed for a new dog but lacked the energy to find the right one.

Lomeli thought she had a solution.

“I said, ‘Shona, Would you mind if I call the shelter and tell them that I’m interested in meeting Baby Dog because I think he would be a perfect match for my mom?’” Lomeli recalled asking Deshon's daughter. “She said, ‘Oh my gosh — yes.’ So we set it all up.”