Shelter Writes Touching Letter to Owner Who Left Dog at Rescue with Note Explaining Choice

“We thought of how it must have felt for you to write that message as you left your loved one behind,” LifeLine Animal Project wrote

An Atlanta animal shelter reached out to a dog owner forced to make a difficult choice for their beloved pet.

In an Aug. 25 Facebook post, LifeLine Animal Project shared photos of an 8-month-old dog named Milo, who was left outside one of their facilities on the night of Aug. 17, along with a handwritten note from the animal’s owner. In the note, Milo’s owner explained that they are homeless and can’t properly care for Milo.

“Please do not judge me on this single act alone. I am simply a human being trying to do what’s best for my puppy,” the owner wrote. “I have tried rehoming and searching for fosters. I cannot support him and myself. This is the only way. I know you will take him, and he’s safe. He’s a sweetheart and very well-mannered and trained.”

The owner also provided the dog’s name, age, vaccination status, and even his favorite treats and activities.

open letter to Milo's owner
A dog owner left a note explaining why they made the difficult decision to give up their dog.LIFELINE ANIMAL PROJECT

Moved by the note, LifeLine wrote a lengthy “open letter” to Milo’s owner in its Facebook post in hopes of helping to reunite the pair.

“We found your dog right where you left him in a space where he wouldn’t get hit by a car or harmed when wandering freely in search of sanctuary,” the message began.

open letter to Milo's owner
Milo, an 8-month-old puppy, was given up by his homeless owner. 

The shelter said Milo was immediately taken in — joining hundreds of other dogs being housed at the facility — before expressing empathy for how hard it must have been for the pet’s original owner to give up their canine companion.

“We thought of how it must have felt for you to write that message as you left your loved one behind,” Lifeline wrote. “What a brave act of self-sacrifice to risk scorn and judgment while trying to do what was best for Milo. Because of your note, we knew Milo’s name, how old he is, that he has been friends with other dogs and cats, and that he is very obviously loved.”

Befitting its name, the shelter then offered the owner a lifeline. “We love him, too, and will do everything in our power to help him go home. If you are reading this and there’s any chance that we can help reunite you with Milo and support both of you, please reach out,” the organization added in its open letter.

“You will be met with compassion and understanding. Milo deserves the safety and security of a home, and so do you,” the letter noted.

The shelter also took the opportunity to remind its followers and the broader community that Milo is “just one of many dogs” with families who are facing hardships that are forcing them to make heartbreaking decisions regarding their pets. The facility encouraged people to consider adopting or fostering to help the countless animals in need of a good home.

In a statement obtained by PEOPLE, LIfeline provided an update on Milo and the shelter’s search for his owner.

“We are in awe of our incredible community’s response to Milo’s story. His post has been shared far and wide, and we are grateful for everyone’s efforts to help us find his owner. After exhausting every option at hand, we still weren’t able to find his owner,” Lifeline shared.

But Milo’s story doesn’t end with bad news. According to Lifeline, “An incredible family came to the shelter, and they fell head over heels for this sweet boy. Shelters are very hard on dogs, especially big, young pups with lots of energy and love to give. We felt the chances of reuniting Milo at this point were very slim, especially after all the coverage, and we didn’t want him to deteriorate in the shelter without a family to spoil him. We’re happy to report that Milo is now adopted, loved, and in a fantastic home with his new family.”