How woman's dying dog became her ultimate 'wingman' (2024)

It was love at first flight! Not only was this dog a woman's best friend, but also the ultimate wingman - introducing her to her pilot boyfriend in his dying days.

Adri Pendleton, 29, had been living in Amsterdam with her two dogs for six years when her relationship ended, making the decision to move back to the United States at the end of last year.

While the TikTokcreator was ready to move back to Redding, California, she realized the difficult part was going to be getting her 15-year-old border collie Nelly back too.

Nelly, who has since passed away, had developed epilepsy and been diagnosed with a mild heart murmur.

Adri Pendleton, 29, had been living in Amsterdam with her two dogs, Loki and Nelly, for six years when her relationship ended. She decided to move back to the United States

She soon realized the difficult part was going to be getting her 15-year-old border collie Nelly (pictured) back to the U.S. too

Because of Nelly's health problems, Adri was hesitant to put the dog in cargo for the plane trip home, and she couldn't find an airline that would allow a dog of her size to travel in the cabin with her on an international flight.

Adri realized that the only option to get her beloved dog back was in a private plane - so she immediately started raising money to get her home, posting videos on the TikTok account of her other dog, Loki, which soon went viral.

'People like [Loki] a lot. He has a half-paralyzed face so he's a funny looking guy,' Adri told People.

Luckily, people looked kindly on Nelly and her plight too, with her videos amassing tens of thousands of views and her GoFundMe gaining attention worldwide.

Her videos were also noticed by German pilot Niklas Stoeterau, 26, who said he was 'touched' by her story and contacted her through TikTok with a proposal to bring the pair back to the U.S..

Niklas, who was living in Hamburg at the time, said he could bring Adri and her canine companion as far as New Jersey, as he was allowed to bring a guest for a heavily discounted price.

'I thought, maybe it's not California but at least it's on the right side of the Atlantic, and could bring Adri and Nelly closer to home,' Niklas pointed out.

'I called it my plus one and a half.'

Despite it being a plan that would solve her transcontinental problems, Adri admitted she was unsure at first.

Niklas, who was living in Hamburg a the time, reached out via TikTok saying he could bring Adri and her canine companion as far as New Jersey, which she accepted

The travel buddies initially said their goodbyes in Newark, New Jersey, they couldn't stop thinking about each other

Sadly, Nelly passed away about a month after they returned to California, but Adri was grateful for any extra time she got to spend with Nelly


Replying to @aandreeamgPLEASE SHARE and ⬇️ Please read: The description of the GoFundMe has ALL the information about our situation, which was just too much to post in one video. Some people think I should leave Nelly behind. Or euthanize her. But I can't do it. My dogs are my reason to keep going, and the reason I am currently studying to become a behaviorist. I have to at least try to get both of them home with me. Please also note, I will NOT tolerate any hateful or rude comments. Questions are welcome (please read the GoFundMe first, it probably has the answer), but rudeness will be an automatic block. My partner is not at fault for this. He is NOT screwing us over. We are living together and he is helping us until we have everything figured out. We have first and foremost always been best friends, and we are still best friends now. This is incredibly hard for both of us. We tried for so long to make things work, but we realize now that it's just not possible. And finally, thank you everyone for your support. I can't even put into words how extremely grateful I am for the outpouring of love. I have cried so many grateful tears at your comments and messages. Thank you, so much. It means the world. #dog #dogsoftiktok #seniordog #fundraiser #gofundme #merch #pleasehelp

♬ Never Had a Chance - Katherine Li

'I have had men take advantage of me in vulnerable situations before,' she explained, adding she and her family did background checks on Niklas.

The pair were in constant contact in the lead up to the flight, messaging for almost two months.

However, Niklas admitted he was 'little bit nervous' when the day rolled around, and he went to meetAdri and Nelly at an airport in Milan in January.

It turns out, he didn't have anything to be nervous about, with the pair talking non-stop for the duration of the 15-hour-flight - which included two stopovers.

Niklas said he felt an instant connection with the dog owner, including similar interests like photography and country music.

'It was just something about her,' he gushed. 'We could talk about the most random stuff and it just feels easy.'

Another indication Niklas was someone special was Nelly's instant affection for him.

'You'd think she would be a bit shy or not too fond of strangers, but we got along very well through the whole flight,' the pilot said.

Adri started posting videos to the TikTok she had for her other dog, Loki (pictured), which soon went viral

Although the travel buddies said their goodbyes in Newark, New Jersey, they couldn't stop thinking about each other.

'A couple of days after the flight, I said, "You're very impressive. If you keep this up, I'm going to invite you to California and take you on a date,"' Adri recalled.

'I mean, it was clear that we were both interested in each other,' she added.

'I was happy she made that first step,' Niklas confirmed.

Sadly, Nelly passed away about a month after they returned to California, but Adri is grateful for any extra time she got to spend with Nelly.

'Definitely the ultimate wingman,' she said.

The dashing aviator came back to visit Adri in California in March and met her family, but they have no solid plans yet to move or get married - as much as their TikTok followers would love it.

For the moment, Niklas has accepted a new job in Switzerland while Adri is taking classes, hoping to become a dog behaviorist.

'Neither of us actually really feel pressured. We think it's fun that TikTok is so supportive and excited for us, but we're just doing our thing,' Adri explained.

'We're happy. So that's what matters.'

How woman's dying dog became her ultimate 'wingman' (2024)


How long after death does a dog's body get stiff? ›

The average time for “rigor” to set in is 3-4 hours and it is typically complete within 12 hours post death. Depending on the position your pet was in when it died, you'll want to tuck their front and back legs tight into their body (known as positioning), rather than leaving the pet outstretched.

What to say when your girlfriend's dog died? ›

It's terrible news—I'm so sorry for your loss.” It may sound simple, but one of the best things you can do for your grieving friend is just let them know you care. Acknowledge their situation, offer your support, and say that you're sorry they're in pain. “My deepest condolences for your loss.”

How long after death does a dog start to smell? ›

If it's going to be more then a few hours before you can get your dog to proper facilities you will need to do something about the body. Remains will begin to decompose and produce an unpleasant odor after just six hours in warm weather. If it's warmer, decomposition is faster.

What does it mean when a dog dies with its eyes open? ›

Again, this is an involuntary reaction that sometimes occurs at the time of death. The normal relaxed position of the eyes after a pet (or a person) has passed away is open. Eyes will likely remain open. Rarely they close and sometimes they are in a sort of a neutral position, neither open or closed.

How long after death does the body release fluids? ›

There are four general stages of putrefaction: Putrefaction (4-10 days after death) – Autolysis occurs and gases (odor) and discoloration starts. Black putrefaction (10-20 days after death) – exposed skin turns black, bloating collapses and fluids are released from the body.

Can a dog wake up after euthanasia? ›

Pets cannot wake up after euthanasia, but owners might be confused when they see their pet's legs move or appear to take a breath after the drug is in their system.

How to cheer up a girl when her dog died? ›

  1. Provide the opportunity to talk about feelings and concerns before, during and after a loss. ...
  2. Share and reminisce about fond memories of the pet. ...
  3. Use the pet's name…even after death.
  4. Provide a hug, a squeeze of the hand, or touch on the shoulder-whatever you feel comfortable doing.

What not to say when a pet dies? ›

"It was just an animal."

Pets have become family for so many people. They are never "just a dog" or "just a cat." A statement such as this implies that your loved one's grief is not worthy, simply because the loss they are grieving is not a human. All losses deserve to be grieved.

How do you say goodbye to your dog after death? ›

set up a little shrine in the corner of a room with a photo of them, their collar and a candle. write a goodbye letter and bury it with them. write a poem or short story talking about your life with them. share your loss with others who have been through it.

How deep should you bury a dog? ›

How deep should the hole be? The rule of thumb is to have at least 3 feet of dirt covering the top of the body. For a large dog, a 4 foot deep hole should suffice. Too shallow a grave will allow animals to dig up the remains and these remains are toxic to them.

What happens to a dog immediately after death? ›

The body will soon begin to give off a foul odor and attract insects. The hotter the temperature, the faster the rate of decomposition. Rigor mortis, the stiffening of the joints, typically begins within 10 minutes to three hours after death and can last as long as 72 hours.

Will a buried dog smell? ›

It's not easy and can even give off an unpleasant smell.

On top of this, if the remains is only buried superficially, it will give off an unpleasant odour in the air as the body decomposes.

Did my dog know I loved her? ›

Yes, your dog knows how much you love him! Dogs and humans have a very special relationship, where dogs have hijacked the human oxytocin bonding pathway normally reserved for our babies. When you stare at your dog, both your oxytocin levels go up, the same as when you pet them and play with them.

Why did my dog howl before he died? ›

Some experts suggest that a dog's howl before death might be an expression of their connection with their human companions. Dogs in dog crate may be seeking reassurance or expressing a need for comfort in their final moments.

Can a dog grieve itself to death? ›

Can my dog grieve himself or herself to death? However, not all mourning signs are related only to anxiety, sadness, and stress. Sometimes, dogs might experience more severe symptoms if they have an underlying medical issue. Grief itself will not cause a dog to develop a new disease or die.

Why is my dead dog not stiff? ›

So, there is no risk of suspended animation (they'd keep breathing anyway, but this just isn't seen in dogs as they aren't hibernating species) and just tells us that the body's cellular levels were so low that when the cells died they didn't have enough of those components to cause the stiffening.

What happens to a dog's body after it dies? ›

After a dog dies, its body begins to undergo a natural decomposition process. During the first few hours after death, a cooling of the body occurs, known as rigor mortis, which causes the muscles to contract and stiffen. Subsequently, the body begins to release gases and substances, which can cause a strong foul odor.

What is the stiffness that occurs after death? ›

Rigor mortis is the post mortem stiffening/ rigidity of the body. It results from a decrease in levels of adenosinetriphosphate (ATP) beyond critical levels. When a person dies, calcium ions flood muscle fibers due to the loss of integrity of the muscle cells.

How do you know if your dog is passing away? ›

1) Prolonged Lethargy/Disinterest

This is the most common sign that the dying process has begun. Lying in one spot (oftentimes a quiet spot where they don't usually lie), not interested in toys or walks, barely acknowledging family members — in other words, just not acting like themselves.

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