In memory of Cyrus ‘Sweetheart’, one of our shelter’s longest ever residents

November 29, 2019

It was a heartbreakingly familiar discovery.

Over seven years ago, our inspectors received reports of two individuals being in potential breach of a legal ban on owning animals. When they attended the Whyalla property to investigate, there he was – Cyrus, along with two other dogs, seriously neglected and malnourished.

Wonderfully, after an abusive first six years of life, the beautiful staffordshire terrier was finally able to live his remaining years filled with happiness alongside his beloved adopted family.

Words cannot describe our heartbreak when darling Cyrus dog passed over the rainbow bridge to doggy heaven last month.

As one of our Lonsdale shelter’s longest residents, the sweetheart’s journey to happiness with his forever family will always bring a smile to our faces.

In tribute to Cyrus’ memory, this is his story.

Emaciated and neglected of love, Cyrus was in dire need of care

On that fateful day seven years ago, Cyrus and the two dogs he was found with, Jack and Angel,  were immediately seized by RSPCA inspectors and brought to our Lonsdale Shelter.

When our staff and volunteers welcomed Cyrus into their loving arms, they were shocked at just how bad his physical state was. He was terribly emaciated and in desperate need of nourishment and dedicated care.

Within months, Cyrus’ previous owners were facing serious prosecution in court. After entering into a good behaviour bond of 12 months, they avoided imprisonment. They were again forbidden from owning any other animals and ordered to pay $3470 in vet and legal costs. But after years of neglect, Cyrus had a long road to recovery.

Sadly for Cyrus, the extent of his neglect was not only physical. His emotional and behavioural state required close support and attention, and it would take many months to get Cyrus back to his true beautiful self, ready to find his forever home.

Cyrus Dog

In the months to follow, affectionate Cyrus would earn the name ‘Sweetheart’ as he patiently waited to find his home

Prior to his rescue, darling Cyrus had only known pain and suffering. He had been left to fend for himself by his cruel owners on their remote property, and was in a terrible state. While Jock and Angel found new homes quickly, heartbreakingly, Cyrus was destined to wait at the shelter for almost a year before he found his.

As the months passed, he slowly regained his health and his soft side started to shine.

Cyrus was soon affectionately referred to as ‘Sweetheart’ by the team at our shelter. His sloppy kisses became a firm favourite with staff, and he was always looking for a friend to snuggle up to.

Cyrus has become such an adored favourite that he would often accompany shelter staff home on weekends, to enjoy a break from shelter life. He had completely captured their hearts.

But sadly, many months would pass before Cyrus would find the perfect family to live the rest of his days with.

Then – after 12 months of patiently waiting, it was time.


‘We fell in love with the handsome boy with the sad story’

Francine and her daughter Sophie had long been searching for the right dog to join their family.

“We had been without a dog for a couple of years and we felt ready to share our lives again with a furfriend,” says Francine.

When Francine and Sophie went to meet Cyrus for the first time they were impressed by his devotion to his trainer, and knew that his loving soul was just what they needed to complete their family.

“We fell in love with the handsome boy with the sad story,” Francine says.

But on their first meeting, it seemed Cyrus had eyes for someone else.

“He was in love with his trainer –  he didn’t take his eyes off her!” laughs Francine.

However, it didn’t take long for that to change, and soon Cyrus could not wait to go home with his loving family.

“It was as if Cyrus was patiently waiting for his home…it was meant to be,” recalls Francine.

There were tears of both sadness and joy on the day that Cyrus walked out of the shelter gates at Lonsdale – so much so, that he was given a guard of honour from the volunteers.

Luckily for us at RSPCA, one of Cyrus’ favourite hobbies was to return to the shelter for visits every few months and we were always overjoyed to receive his sloppy kisses with open arms.


With new best friends and a new happy place, Cyrus finally gets to enjoy the life he never had growing up

It did not take long for Cyrus to settle into his new life and make an impression on his new family members.

“When we got home he came straight inside and jumped on my daughter’s bed. This became his spot, looking out the window watching the world go by,” smiles Francine.

After such a rough start to life, it was clear that he had finally found his happy place.

Not only did Cyrus become a firm favourite with Francine and Sophie, he also managed to win the affection of his new feline companion Zac, a brown Burmese.

“At first, Cyrus took no notice of him. Zac hid for a few days but it wasn’t long before they were curled up together on the bed,” says Francine. “They were the best of friends”.

Cyrus’ days from then on were filled with so many things he loved.

He loved his food, and he loved to stroll to the park with his family or enjoy long car rides. The sweetheart would sunbake outside during summer, while in winter he would curl up in his bed by the heater and enjoy the company of siblings Sophie and Zac.

Cyrus was finally able to enjoy the life he never had as a pup.


‘Sleep well o’l mate’

After six amazing years of love and companionship with his beloved family, Cyrus’ health sadly took a turn.

The beautiful boy was devastatingly diagnosed with cancer earlier this year, and passed away within days.

Heartbroken and missing their darling Cyrus, Francine and Sophie are still eternally grateful to have shared their lives with their sweet hearted boy.

“It was our privilege to have had him as part of our family for six wonderful years,” says Francine.

“He was a funny, loyal, gentle soul. He was our family and we loved him dearly, and he loved us,” says Francine.

“Sleep well o’l mate.”

From the bottom of our hearts, we wish Cyrus all of our love. To his beautiful family, we thank them for sharing their touching story of love and hope, and for giving Cyrus the life he deserved.


We’re so thankful that Francine and Sophie filled Cyrus’ remaining days with such love and care. If you’re considering opening your heart and home to a rescued animal, head over here to see all our animals currently available for adoption.

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8 thoughts on “In memory of Cyrus ‘Sweetheart’, one of our shelter’s longest ever residents”

  1. Jennifer Pearson

    Rip dear Cyrus. You had such a very sad and awful beginning, but thank goodness you found so much love and kindness at the Lonsdale animal rescue and then your wonderful forever home.

  2. Shane

    I am so glad to hear that you lived the rest of your beautiful life with a loving and caring family that loved you Cyrus. Rest In Peace gorgeous🐶❤️🌈

  3. Anita Tavendale

    A bitter sweet story. I’m glad wonderful people placed new memories in the doggy’s heart and mind. How amazing you are to look past the cute puppies to an older dog with a tale.
    Neglect stories require harsher sentencing.

  4. Ramona Rieger

    Such a touchy story. The rspca do such a good job to save neglected and abused animals. And then for them and in this case cyrus to live the rest of his life in a loving family is perfect.

  5. Sheila

    So happy that Cyrus had 6 wonderful years with his forever family. Run free beautiful boy. 🐾🌈🕊❤

  6. Colleen Kennedy

    RIP beautiful Cyrus. Thank-youRSPCA Lonsdale, you are all fabulous people there. Thank-you Francine & Sophie & Zac for loving him they way he should always have been. My sincere condolences to all of you.
    Animals are special and we need to teach our children that, not fear of them. Sadly fearful kids grow up to abuse animals. We must also give harsher penalties for animal abuse or it won’t ever stop.
    Older dogs are so wonderful and appreciative of our love & I’m so glad Cyrus was loved and left his mark on this world. 🌈💔💗💖

  7. Katrina Freene

    I cried. what a heart felt story. Beautiful dog.

  8. Elaine Trives

    So glad that Beautiful Cyrus was able to have the life he deserved

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