Lonely lab now living in lap of luxury -- and she's not alone - KMSP-TV

Lonely lab now living in lap of luxury -- and she's not alone

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Helen and Lady are all smiles now Helen and Lady are all smiles now
TAMPA (FOX 13) -

When a teacher in Kansas posted a dog's picture along with her heartbreaking story, it got shared thousands of times. She looked so pitiful -- an arthritic senior black lab who walked nearly 30 miles to try to find the family who gave her up.

Her tale pulled at our heartstrings, and Helen Rich's purse strings.

"Knowing as much as I know about rescue, I know what she'd be going through and how long it would take. So I said, I'm just gonna go get her," Helen recalled.

An heir to the Wrigley chewing gum fortune, Helen has her own dog rescue: On the Wings of Angels. She sent her assistant to charter a jet, fly to Kansas, and pick up the lonely-looking lab.

"She laid on the floor the entire time until they were descending into Tampa, and it's like she knew," Helen continued. "She just knew. And she got up on the seat and looked out the window, like, 'I'm home. There it is.'"

Lady, as she's now known, fit right in with the pack of five living in Helen's 11,000-square-foot mansion.

"It was like she was, hello, these are my brothers and sisters, and they were like, well where have you been?" Helen laughed. "Even the cats!"

On the Wings of Angels has made dozens of homecomings possible for dogs that never had a chance.

"More than four million dogs die a year in this country -- healthy dogs," lamented lead trainer John Jones. "That's a lot of dogs."

Jones says they take death row dogs and black-listed breeds, then train them. So when they go home, it's for good.

"Most people do not take dogs to training to prevent problems. They take 'em cause they have a problem and they hope it gets fixed," he continued.

When it comes to senior dogs like Lady, Helen has a soft spot.

"See, this is what she does," Helen said, "She just looks me in the eye and smiles."

There's a lot to smile about for this lucky dog, and the others to come. Helen rich has plans to take her rescue global.

"It's my mission," she exclaimed. "It's my job!"

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