Christmas came early for one family this year thanks to a dog named Riley.
- THE BETHANY REPETITIVELY BEGGED TO PROVIDE HER A CHANCE TO BE LIKED HOWEVER NOBODY WISHED TO EMBRACE HER
- Pop art to ballet, reach for a nonfiction read when choosing holiday gifts
- Terrified dog transforms after human sits with him
- Brave Military Dog Finds Family and Peace in Heartwarming Children’s Tale
- Police dog killed in shooting after state troopers tried to serve an arrest warrant
Riley, a senior Great Dane from Oklahoma, was the recipient of a special gift this season year courtesy of the Chewy Claus program. Run by pet retail giant Chewy, the program comes around each year to encourage pets and their owners to write in with their wishes big and small.
While Chewy Claus is also known to distribute the typical toys and treats, a few of the wishes take something more than a sled full of goodies. Like Riley’s wish, which was to celebrate one last Christmas with his family.
`The problem was, Riley had been diagnosed with cancer and wasn’t expected to make it to Christmas day 2023. So, in order to make his final request come true, Chewy and Riley’s family teamed up to bring Christmas around a little early this year.
‘Born again in dogs’:How Clear the Shelters became a year-round mission for animal lovers
One last Christmas celebration for Riley
Riley, an 11-year-old Great Dane from Oklahoma, is already special in that he has outlived the expected lifespan of the breed. Thanks to their massive size, Great Danes generally only live to be 8 to 10 years old, a memo Riley apparently failed to get.
Riley’s family originally sent Chewy Claus a letter when they found out he likely wouldn’t live to see Christmas. Five months prior, he had been diagnosed with Osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer, and paired with his already advanced age, his owner Courtney Tucker knew her next Christmas would likely be spent without her best friend.
“I decided to write a letter to Chewy Claus because with Riley having cancer, his time is very limited,” Courtney said in a video of the celebration. “This is going to be his last Christmas, to experience that last time with him is something that I wanted.”
Hearing Riley and Courtney’s wish, Chewy Claus put in more work than Courtney could have expected to make Christmas come a little early for Riley and his family.
Bundles of his favorite toys wrapped and addressed especially to him arrived at the family home, along with treats, a 28-oz steak and, for the humans, a painted portrait of Riley to keep and hang up.
“Riley is so special to everyone,” said Courtney in the video. “Giving him this experience just means so much not just to me, but every single family member as well.”
See the map:Mysterious and fatal dog respiratory illness now reported in 14 states
What is Chewy Claus?
Popular online pet retailer Chewy runs a program each holiday season called “Letters to Chewy Claus,” inviting pets to write in – with the help of their favorite humans – and submit their Christmas wishes.
Requests can range from anything to treats and toys to a reunion with a favorite person or a new wheelchair, according to the company. And, for every letter submitted to “Chewy Claus” before December 15, Chewy donates one pound of food to animals in need, up to 200,000 pounds.
Last year, nearly 80,000 pets wrote letters to Chewy Claus, resulting in 80,000 pounds of food donations, according to the company.
“Chewy Claus is making your holiday wishes come true one letter at a time. Send your letter with your holiday list—however big or small—and it might just get fulfilled!” reads the website.
Riley’s final Christmas party was made possible by the program, which kicked off the 2023 season earlier this year by granting another wish from rescue pup Blue, who asked to be reunited with his military dad, Dan, who is stationed in another state.
Chewy Claus was able to bring Dan for some quality time with Blue and the rest of the family, promising to fulfill “big and small wishes just like Blue’s” through the rest of the season.
In addition to these big and extra special gifts, the program also sends presents to lucky pets who submit letters through December 15.