Boston terriers thrive on human companionship, and they deteriorate in the absence thereof, notes the Boston Terrier Club of America. This is apparently what happened to Butch, who wandered an Alabama neighborhood for two and a half years after being abandoned, AL.com reports. He ate garbage, was occasionally fed by people in the town of Pinson, and survived—until a week before Thanksgiving, when he collapsed in a local yard, gasping for air. Enter Alicia Buzbee and daughter Kansas Humphrey: They swept in from an adjoining neighborhood and rushed Butch to the vet. The news wasn't good: Butch had nearly zero lung capacity, a leaking trachea, and a swollen heart; doctors scheduled the sick pup for a "humane euthanasia."
But Buzbee and Humphrey didn't want him to go out like that, so they made his last few days the best he ever experienced: He scarfed down burgers and pumpkin pie; he romped with toys; he celebrated Thanksgiving with Buzbee's family; he even met Santa and the local fire department, and had a going-away party in the park with presents and balloons, BuzzFeed reports. Butch even seemed to be getting better from all the TLC, so his new family called off the euthanasia, but then he had a relapse on Friday. "Before he goes, I want him to look into my eyes, and I want to look into his eyes, and I want to whisper, 'I love you,'" Buzbee told AL.com. "I want him to hear those words and to see those faces of the people who love him." Butch died on Saturday. (This stray dog's story has grabbed hearts around the world.)