It’s never too late to help a dog in need, and this story is proof. Puppies are often the first to get rescued, but senior dogs can benefit from it just as much. Below, a stray dog named Toothless forms a bond with a man named Cody Leightenheimer, and it transforms their lives in a huge way.

“I was working at a wood flooring factory a couple months after. I had an entire wing, basically, to myself. One day I was staining some custom furniture for my boss’s getaway Florida home when I looked at the other end of the hangar length building to see a little puppy. I instantly wanted to abandon post and grab the thing for cuddles but I had work to get done. This pup wasn’t having none of that though. He walked up to me and stared at me with his huge eyes. I pet him and noticed instantly that he was flea covered, matted and not in the best physical shape. As I looked closer I realized that he had a lot of gray around his muzzle, ears and face.”

Imgur/Cody Leightenheimer

“I got him chicken-ish fast food during my lunch because he was so thin that I could feel his bones. I started sending these pictures to my wife planning on pleading to bring him home. I didn’t have to because she beat me to the punch.”

Imgur/Cody Leightenheimer

“I thought that I would have to herd him away from doors all day until I could clock out and take him home. The little guy fell asleep on the floor and stayed there all day.”

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He took Toothless home and cleaned him up, removing dozens of fleas. A visit to the vet revealed a laundry list of existing issues: stunted growth from malnutrition, cataracts and one small pupil from blunt force trauma to the head, ulcers in his stomach causing vomiting, four oronasal fistulas in his mouth caused by rotting teeth, and last but not least, he was completely deaf.

Imgur/Cody Leightenheimer

It was learned the Shetland Sheepdog was somewhere between 8 to 12 years old weighing in at only 7.3 pounds.

Imgur/Cody Leightenheimer

“After a surgery on the fistulas, a strict medicinal regiment, months of spoiling and a family who loved him as much as two children and then some; Toothless (Nickname added by our Five year old daughter because of her love for How To Train Your Dragon) Rooster Cogburn was a dashing elderly gentleman in the vein of Sir Ian Mckellen and Christopher Plummer.”

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Cody and Kasie gave Toothless all the love and care he needed, treating him like royalty! 🙂

Imgur/Cody Leightenheimer

Now the dog could occasionally enjoy the cold as opposed to living in it.

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And play dress up!

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Imgur/Cody Leightenheimer

Imgur/Cody Leightenheimer

Toothless was involved in many of their activities…

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But his favorite thing to do was nap!

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And he had plenty of time for that. 🙂

Imgur/Cody Leightenheimer

But Toothless Rooster Cogburn was given three months to one year to live, and he made it to the year before getting too sick to carry on.

Imgur/Cody Leightenheimer

“I watched the greatest friend, most loving pet and the most heroic fighter I’ve ever met sink into a well deserved final nap while his mother and I held his paws.”

Imgur/Cody Leightenheimer

Cody went on to say: “I never thought I could love a pet as much as I loved him; as much as we loved him. Everyone who met him instantly loved him. His vets, our friends, a theater full of patrons when he performed a walk-on role in a play. He truly was one of a kind. We hope that we gave him enough good memories to wipe out any bad ones that came before.”

A bittersweet story, but Toothless got to spend his final days being surrounded by love. The memories made with Cody and Kasie would be the ones Toothless would remember most.