Kurt Haupt never married and doesn’t have any children, so the 81-year-old’s closest family is his dog, Dacky. Well, it was Dacky.
The Canadian man’s beloved 14-year-old Miniature Dachshund was attacked earlier this month by four dogs in a Toronto park, and died from her injuries, ABC News reports. Saying that Haupt is devastated doesn’t even begin to describe his feelings.
“I never, ever in my wildest dreams ever expected anything like this,” he told the network. “It’s very unfortunate. I don’t know why it had to happen to me. I dedicated all my years to this dog and that’s why it’s very difficult to get away from that.”
Sue Dunstan, a Toronto-based singer and actress, was heartbroken for Haupt and set up a GoFundMe campaign to cover Dacky’s veterinary bills, the cost of her cremation and to pay for the adoption fees should Haupt ever want to bring a new pet into his life. After reaching the $3,000 funding goal, Dunstan stopped taking donations through the site, but she is encouraging people to send Haupt sympathy cards, nature DVDs or anything else that “might make his day a little brighter,” according to the site’s description.
In the past week, more than 400 people have contacted her to find out how they can write to Haupt. (If you’d like to send something, you can contact Dunstan by sending her a message through the GoFundMe page.)
“He is surprised, especially without Internet and email, at how many people have showed him he’s not alone,” she told ABC News.
A photo of the man whose four, unleashed Cane Corsos attacked Dacky was posted on The Toronto Pet Daily’s Facebook page (Haupt can be seen cradling Dacky’s little body) and the Toronto Sun reports that the picture was instrumental in identifying him. Kiriakos Nendos has been arrested in connection with Dacky’s death and five dogs were seized from his parents’ home, where he was taken into custody.
“It just proves the power of social media when it comes to instances of animal abuse,” Gord Macey, the founder of Toronto Pet Daily, told the Sun.
And when Haupt starts opening those sympathy cards — when he’s ready to — he’ll realize the power of social media when it comes to healing a broken heart as well.