A senior dog named Karlie is set to make a triumphant return to Dog Bowl 3 as one of the earliest inductees in its Dog Bowl Hall of Fame.
The 17-year-old Bichon Frise lived the first 15 years and 3 months of her life in a home. But when she became “too old” for her previous owners, they decided to surrender her to Florida Little Dog Rescue. For the same reason, she was often overlooked by potential adopters.
About a month after, Karlie started getting depressed as she had been used to a home.
Thankfully, Laurie Johnson, the director of the nonprofit rescue, stepped in. She volunteered to foster Karlie in her home.
“We didn’t know how long she would have, but we were committed to making sure that she had a great rest of her life, however long it was,” she told TODAY.
Laurie thought that they would be providing hospice care to a senior dog living her last days, but that was not the case. Instead, Karlie flourished with her whole family!
“Karlie had been grieving her old life, but once she settled into foster care with us and had a bed, and food that she liked, and treats, and belly rubs, and cuddles and snuggles and a yard to play in, and other dogs to be friends with, she just perked right back up,” she said. “She started to come back to life in terms of her personality really coming through and shining.”
Karlie was available for adoption, but people still thought she was too old. She stayed with the Johnsons for 16 months. Then she had the chance to participate in Animal Planet’s Dog Bowl, which features adoptable senior dogs from shelters and rescue organizations.
During Dog Bowl 2, Florida Little Dog Rescue Group received an outpour of offers from across the country to adopt Karlie.
“People didn’t realize people would give up senior dogs to shelters,” Laurie said. “Karlie was able to open their eyes so they could consider adopting a senior dog from a shelter.”
A couple from Florida named Rhonda and Steve Hoeckley, who were both 61, were among those who expressed interested in adopting Karlie. When the pair reached out to Laurie, she knew that the dog had “hit the jackpot.” That’s because the couple and their twin daughters have adopted several dogs from the rescue before, and Laurie knew that they were loving owners.
After seeing Karlie in Dog Bowl 2, they drove their recreational vehicle to meet her. The senior dog instantly bonded with the family including their dogs!
“It’s impossible not to fall in love with this dog,” Rhonda said. “She is just really special.”
To celebrate the new addition to their family, the Hoeckleys threw a “Welcome to the Family” party for Karlie, complete with a cheeseburger cake that she shared with four of her furry siblings.
Despite her advanced age, Karlie is a little ball of energy. She loves racing up and down the stairs and dancing on her back legs. She often rolls on her back and flaps her front paws to ask for belly rubs. The pooch is nearing her 18th birthday, and the good news is that she is very healthy and is not on any medications.
“She’s not too old for anything,” Steve told TODAY. “I hope people really look at adopting senior dogs.”
February 2, Karlie returned to Dog Bowl 3 as one of the first inductees into the Dog Bowl Hall of Fame!