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Heartbreaking photo of dog waiting for deceased owner prompts adoption offers worldwide

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Posted at 5:12 PM, Jun 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-25 18:12:46-04

A viral image of a pup sitting beside his deceased owner's hospital bed has led to his adoption.

The photo of Moose, a 3-year-old Lab mix, was shared by thousands on Facebook after two New Jersey shelters, NorthStar Pet Rescue and Eleventh Hour Rescue, posted it in hopes of finding the dog a new home.

Moose was initially adopted one year ago through Eleventh Hour Rescue, but his owner recently died from cancer, according to Linda Barish, a volunteer and a member of the executive committee at Eleventh Hour.

(MORE: Boy gets adopted on the same day his family adopts a dog: 'I was adopted and now I'm ready to do it for him')

"When the owner passes away, Eleventh Hour's policy is we take the dogs back no matter what," Barish told "Good Morning America." "We never in a million years thought that this would happen ... and so many were willing to step up to help this grieving, homeless dog."

Barish said hundreds of people as far away as Australia inquired about adopting Moose.

(MORE: Girl fighting brain tumor receives more than 50,000 letters from dogs around the world)

But it was a New Jersey-area family of four who were ultimately chosen by shelter staff.

"They were one of the first applications we received on Moose," Barish said, adding that the family would like to stay anonymous. "They saw the post before it went viral."

"So many dogs are euthanized that need a home everyday that are perfectly wonderful dogs," Barish added. "What I hope is that it brings awareness to rescues and people will commit to adopting and not shopping."