The sad truth is: Not all dogs can be saved. This was the unfortunate truth Janine Guido, founder of Speranza Animal Rescue, had to deal with when she met Watson.

The starving, homeless Pit Bull, was found by a college student in a park all alone in Philadelphia. She took him to an emergency vet. The poor pup was covered in sores all over his body. Watson also had a large tumor on his back leg. The vet told the college student that there wasn’t much to be done. The cancer had spread and Watson’s time was running out.

Watson was transferred from the veterinarian’s office to a local shelter. Shelter staff agreed to make Watson as comfortable as possible.

“I had a gut feeling that things weren’t going to be good the next day,” Guido told the Dodo. “I didn’t want to leave him alone. Not when he needed me the most.” Guido pledged to stay by Watson’s side. She gathered blankets and dog beds then lied down with him, as close as possible. She spent the night, holding him as he slept in her arms.

“He slept like a rock all night, cuddled up to me so tight,” Guido said. “I cried myself to sleep, and woke up in tears as well.”

That next morning, Watson stopped eating and drinking. He paced in circles and Guido knew his time was coming to an end. She continued to give him as much love as possible so he knew he wasn’t alone.

Watson passed away shortly after, knowing he was loved– probably for the first time in his life.

“I’m just so thankful I was able to hold him tight for his last night,” Guido said. “I was telling him how much he was loved — and that his life mattered. My heart is breaking, but I would not change a thing.”