With just one request on the popular neighborhood app, this dog-loving senior formed a new community of caring neighbors and pup friends.
close up of woman holding Shih Tzu dog
Credit: Alexandra Woods / Adobe Stock

No matter what happens to us, the last choice we want to make is to give up our beloved furry friends. But for Linda Summers of University Park, Texas, rehoming Lacey Day, her sweet 5-year-old rescued shih tzu, couldn't be helped.

"I had two really serious falls, which totally incapacitated me. I couldn't get up—I was flat on my back," Summers tells Daily Paws. "My daughter, bless her heart, had her hands full taking care of me 24/7. Dealing with the cooking, washing, and Lacey Day was all just so much." So her daughter found the pup a new home with another caring family she knew.

Although Summers understood it was the right decision, it didn't make it any less difficult to accept. She loves everything about the breed, especially their lively personalities, comedic natures, and sweet dispositions. She even had another one before Lacey Day named Bentley. "So I just wanted to see and pet a shih tzu periodically, and maybe play with one a bit."

Having moved into her current home only recently, Summers didn't know many of her neighbors. But when she spotted a woman walking with a shih tzu, Summers used the power of technology to make contact: she posted a request on the Nextdoor app, asking the woman if she could please bring her little dog by again so she could see the pup. Not only did the woman respond, but so did about 300 other people, all offering to share extra puppy love!

"I met some of the nicest people in this neighborhood," Summers says. "It was really a great feeling for me to have all this outpouring of consideration and kindness." She hasn't interacted with all the friendly pet parents and their canine pals yet, but there have still been many furred visitors stopping by, including shih tzus named Mocha and Hank and their pet parents, a sassy little corgi, a German shepherd, and others.

Reporters for local television station KCEN even heard about the overwhelming response, and produced a touching story about it, which shows Summers, her neighbors, and various pups enjoying each others' company.

Summers is simply overjoyed how people shared their support. "There are two ladies in particular who... bring their dogs over once a week or once every two weeks," she says. "And we've become really good friends—these ladies are super nice, and we have a lot in common. So that was a really fortunate bonus for me, especially as a new neighbor."

Even better? These new neighbors are ones with shih tzus! It's pets and playtime galore when they stop by to visit.

There's no doubting the strong connection animal lovers will have, even if they first start out as strangers. "To me, this has just been such a gift. Things like this say to me, 'We still need human interaction with others'," Summers says. "And people really believe that, otherwise they wouldn't rush to your aid."