Foster owners make terminally-ill dog’s final months special

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PORTSMOUTH, Va -- Zuba the German Shepard is having a fun time. She has eaten ice cream, gone for a ride on a fire truck, and been given all the tennis balls she could possibly want to play with.

Zuba with puppyccino

She lives at the Southeast German Shepard Rescue Phoenix Dog Program. The organization is going above and beyond to make her feel special -- because she may not have a lot of time with them.


Zuba has kidney failure. Veterinarians said she may not have more than six to nine months to live. When her previous owners found out, they gave her up to the program. Now, Kayla Matherson and her husband, a Portsmouth police officer, are fostering her -- and striking things off her bucket list.

"Hiking, camping, which we hope to fulfill at the end of the month," said Kayla Matherson.

Among the other things she's been able to do -- become a police dog. Zuba was made an honorary canine in the Portsmouth Police Department. She was able to ride in a police car and received an official K-9 badge.

Honorary canine

Zuba has received a lot of support from the community -- including financial support. That has made it possible for her to receive expensive medicine to help with the liver failure -- and the medicines have helped her condition improve. If the trend continues, she may live to see several more years.

K9 badge

Zuba's foster parents say depending how her next appointment goes, Zuba may be up for adoption soon.

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