Heartbreaking story behind photo of dog tied to fire hydrant

A heartbreaking photo of a dog tied to a fire hydrant after being abandoned by its owner has touched people across the world — but the reason behind the surrender is even more gut-wrenching.

The pet, whose name is "Baby Girl", was discovered sitting patiently alongside a backpack filled with toys and treats, with a note attached detailing the reason for her abandonment.

A woman, from the Green Bay area in Wisconsin, US, said she found the pup last week and sat with her for an hour trying to keep her warm.

"Waiting for someone to come back but no one did. Took her to the humane society in Green Bay. I did my best everyone. Trust me, it breaks my heart too," she posted online with the emotional image of Baby Girl.

Speaking out anonymously following the community's response, Baby Girl's owner detailed her dire circumstances and why she decided to find her beloved pet a new home.

The almost six-year-old dog tied to a fire hydrant next to a backpack filled with snacks and toys.
The almost six-year-old dog was left tied to a fire hydrant next to a backpack filled with snacks and toys, with a heartbreaking note attached. Source: Facebook

She told ABC 2 her letter explained she "couldn't take care of her anymore", adding it was "the hardest thing [she's] ever had to do".

The woman said she's currently living on the streets while also going through chemotherapy. Because of this, it's impossible to properly care for the dog.

"It was the worst. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life, but I knew she would be okay. Somebody would pick her up and she’d be safe," she told ABC 2.

"So I’m on the streets with her, and I said, it needs to be done immediately because she’s with me outside, under bushes. And they said we can’t do anything. We don’t have any kennels."

The owner is hoping people will understand she tried to do the right thing.

"I hope she finds a fantastic family. She deserves it. Just forgive me and bless Baby Girl. Make sure she’s ok," she said.

Baby Girl tired to the fire hydrant.
The owner said she couldn't care for her best friend anymore given her unfortunate circumstances. Source: Facebook

Animal shelter's heartfelt message to dog owner

Baby Girl, who's almost six years old, was taken to the Wisconsin Humane Society, an animal rescue organisation, where she will stay until a suitable home can be found.

Posting on their Facebook page, Humane Society officials said the pup was "doing great" and shared a heartfelt message aimed at the owner, who they're desperately trying to contact.

"First and foremost, we are so sorry you had to part with your best friend," the shelter wrote.

"It's evident just how much you loved her and we can see you did your best while struggling with your own medical complications and challenges of life.

"We see your love in the bag you carefully packed with all of her favourite things. We see your love in the way you secured her leash so she wouldn’t get hit by a car.

"We see your love in the way you placed her in the middle of a neighbourhood where she’d be quickly found. We see your love in how happy and healthy Baby Girl looks. And we see your love in the note you left, pleading for someone to help her when you no longer could."

The Humane Society went on to say that it was clear that the owner did "what [she] thought was best for [her] beloved pup," and added they are "grateful for [her] compassion".

Photo of dog goes viral

Thousands of people have commented and shared the heartbreaking image of Baby Girl, with many hoping she finds a good home.

"Thank God she will have the opportunity to find a loving family! This breaks my heart!" one woman said on Facebook.

"Thank you for comforting her. Poor dog. I know it broke your heart as it would mine," another wrote.

"It is hard to part with a part of your family but they put all of the possessions and left a note so it really wasn’t malicious. My sympathy to the person who did this," a third person said.

"They obviously loved her enough to pack her belongings. They didn’t just throw her away. I know our first reaction is of anger," a fourth woman pointed out.

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