The puppy abandoned in the bathroom was in a pitiful state. But the note that came with him hints at an even sadder story.

Screenshot/KSNV News

As KSNV News reported, Chewy, a 3-month-old miniature chihuahua, was found in a bathroom in the Las Vegas airport. But while Chewy’s owner had left him behind, it was obvious she didn’t want to.

A note accompanied the injured dog. In it, the owner explained that she was fleeing an abusive relationship. She’d made it to the airport with Chewy, but wasn’t able to take him on the plane. It read:

Hi! I’m Chewy! My owner was in an abusive relationship and couldn’t afford me to get on the flight. She didn’t want to leave me with all her heart but she has NO other option.

The unfortunate puppy even had an injury that showed how dangerous his owner’s situation had been. The owner’s note continued:

My ex-boyfriend kicked my dog when we were fighting and he has a big knot on his head. He probably needs a vet.

It was clear that the puppy’s owner didn’t want to leave her dog behind, but felt she had no choice. The note ended with a heart-rending plea:

I love Chewy sooo much — please love and take care of him.

Fortunately, Chewy ended up in the care of a local dog rescue and is doing well. But his story exposed a common problem when it comes to leaving an abusive relationship — what to do about pets.

According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, as many as 65 percent of domestic violence victims cannot leave their abusers because of worries about what will happen to their pet if they leave. However, there are resources available for anyone who needs to escape abuse while caring for a pet.

The hotline recommends including your pet in the safety plan for leaving an abusive relationship. The Safe Havens Mapping Project (through the Animal Welfare Institute) helps domestic violence victims find a place that will shelter their pets when they leave.

If an internet search doesn’t turn up a safe haven for your pet, the hotline suggests contacting a local animal shelter or domestic violence shelter for help. There are even organizations that help care for horses or non-traditional animals. The important thing to remember is that there are options available to ensure pets are safe too.

Darlene Blair, a staffer at the rescue that took Chewy in, said that the puppy’s story deeply touched her, especially the distress that came through in his owner’s note. She told KSNV she hopes domestic violence victims learn that there are resources out there for them and their pets:

“If you’re in that situation and you need help to take your dog with you try not to be too afraid to ask for help.”

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