Nicole Elliott, 24, said she aims to help her dog live as much as possible in the time he has left.
Elliott adopted Chester from Animal Ark Rescue on June 27. She'd been following pictures of him posted on Facebook and decided to take him home.
To call Chester a tough adoption, however, would be an understatement. The dog is 13 or 14 years old and had a large tumor his previous owners had neglected to fix.
Elliott is unsure about Chester's age or breed (probably a miniature schnauzer), only that he was in rough shape when he was surrendered.
"I thought about it for a while and decided it'd be something I could take on," she said.
Chester has mast cell cancer. Despite removing a large tumor, the disease is rapidly spreading all over his body. He also has heartworms.
Elliott said the veterinarians aren't sure how long he has left.
"I don't really think he has much time, but it's up to him and the cancer," she said. "I just want him to experience as many things that normal dogs do as possible."
Elliott said she spoils Chester with extra treats, shopping trips, Bruster's Doggy Sundaes and trips to the park, where Chester loves playing in the water.
"He seems to be absorbing all the love I'm giving him," Elliott said, calling the dog "very sweet" and "playful."
A trip to the beach, a boat ride and more trips to the park are in Chester's future, provided he's healthy enough to make them.
"I wish I would have gotten him sooner," Elliott said. "It's hard because I've already fallen in love with him."
Elliott said she's been overwhelmed with the response to her story, which was featured on Good Morning America and has gone viral on Facebook. She said she hopes people will adopt more older pets or other animals less likely to be taken home from the shelter.
Elliott declined to accept donations for Chester. She prefers people donate to Animal Ark Rescue's senior hospice program.
"It feels really good to be making that impact," she said. "[Older animals] make really good pets. They deserve it."