Hurricane Sandy Survivor Seeks Home

Rio, a terminally ill dog rescued from Hurricane Sandy seeks an angelic foster home for her final days.

By | Posted: August 14, 2013, 9 a.m. PST

Rio the LabradorThe Helen Woodward Animal Center has seen its share of heartwarming adoptions and heart-stopping rescues, but its current quest to find a home for one of the last of its Sandy survivors may be one of its most heartbreaking. 

Rio, a beautiful black Labrador Retriever blend was one of 49 orphan pets who made national news when they were flown across the country to Helen Woodward Animal Center on November 17th, 2012.  

Upon arrival, Rio’s prospects looked rosy.   The beautiful canine with a forever family in her sights had all the media attention an orphan pet could hope for to help her land one.  Tragically, Rio’s medical exam revealed a challenge of nature even bigger than the devastating Super Storm.  Rio was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer.  Now, with only months to live, finding her final forever home may be her biggest challenge of all.

"Rio is an incredibly affectionate dog with the people she gets to know and love,” states Helen Woodward Animal Center’s Pet Trainer Rob Kuty.  "But she needs a very special home due to her condition.”

At 5 years old and 55 lbs., Rio has the heart and spirit of a young canine who longs to run and play.  Unfortunately, the growing cancerous masses in her lungs and near her heart base, compromise her lung function leaving her winded and near collapse with too much exercise or excitement. She is exceptionally sweet with other dogs and cats but it’s important that she stays fairly calm, so mellow pet friends are best. Rio would do best in a low-key household with 1 or 2 adults and a fenced-in yard.  She is not able to go hiking or jogging, but would love short, slow walks around the neighborhood.

Of course there is more than just the emotional cost of taking on a sick pet.  There are the practical costs, as well.  But Rio has a few angels watching out for her.  Upon hearing Rio’s story, Del Mar Albertsons/Sav-On Pharmacy Store Director Shaye Holden took quick action to get involved and offered to cover the costs of Rio’s medication expenses for any foster family willing to take Rio into their home.

"We’re hoping this gesture will motivate someone in the community to welcome Rio into their family” states Holden.  "Like everyone else, we’re animal lovers too and know that pet care costs can be challenging, even for those with the biggest of hearts.”

Black Labrador Retriever

As is the beautiful nature of animals, Rio does not pity herself.  Despite her health conditions, she is first and foremost a dog and possesses all the wonderful characteristics that come with being one.  She continues to demonstrate a loving nature, longs to play, and would like nothing more than a forever home and a family to call her very own. 

The Helen Woodward Foundation is currently seeking a final foster family for Rio who desperately deserves a forever home for the months she has remaining.  Albertson’s/SavOn will cover all pharmaceutical costs for Rio’s care.  For more information on Rio, or to foster Rio, please contact Denise Clark or Myrna Dignan in the Foster Department at: 858-756-4117 ext. 375, email  or stop by at 6461 El Apajo Road in Rancho Santa Fe.


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Eileen - 249708   Port Perry, ON

11/8/2013 3:27:12 AM

How is Rio doing?

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Carol - 10030   Silver Spring, MD

8/18/2013 9:50:32 PM

Hoping Rio finds that loving home! Kudos to Albertsons/SavOn for their actions.

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