The long and winding road of a Hastings therapy dog is drawing to a close.
Abbey Road, the 8-year-old St. Bernard therapy dog that paired with owner Denise Ferguson to co-found the therapy dog program K-9's & Friends in 2006, was diagnosed with inoperable bone cancer in her front right leg on Sept. 25.
Pain medication eases her sometimes-painful steps. A slip-and-fall down the stairs inside the family home was one sign of her decline. Ferguson dreads the thought of life without her beloved four-legged companion, but will have Abby euthanized on Friday.
"She'll be the kid I don't have anymore," she said. "Whoever gets into our lives is going to have some big paws to fill."
She made her final public appearances earlier this month, visiting with children at the Kiwanis Fun Day at Lake Hastings on Oct. 6.
Ferguson and her husband, Dave, adopted Abbey at age 6 months from a shelter in Grand Island. She had been rescued from a puppy mill. She and the dog hit it off right away, she said.