When Melani Andrews visited an animal shelter, she had an unusual question for the staff. She asked them who among their dogs was the oldest and hardest to adopt. It was an unexpected inquiry, but the caretakers knew right away which pup perfectly fit that description.
Meet Jake, a 12-year old terrier who had been taken by the shelter as a stray a few months back. Aside from being a senior, the dog had a plethora of medical issues – terminal cancer, deafness, and partial blindness. For all those reasons, he often got overlooked by those who were seeking to adopt.
But things were about to change for Jake – this time, someone in the shelter will ask for a dog exactly like him.
That someone is 72-year-old Melani who, like Jake, had gone through a rough patch in the recent years. She lost her husband, followed by her Staffordshire terrier named Lola, who had brought her joy and comfort during her difficult times.
Melani told The Dodo: “I was feeling down and a little depressed. My grandkids came over one night, and they said, ‘Grandma, you need somebody to keep you company. You can’t just sit around here all by yourself.”
She heeded her grandkids’ advice and went to visit Front Street Animal Shelter in Sacramento, California, to adopt a new friend. When she got there, she told the staff upfront what kind of dog she wanted to bring home.
“I wanted to help somebody — a dog — like Lola helped us, and so I told them I wanted the oldest dog they had, the one that everybody was passing up, and that I wanted to adopt him. I don’t care if he’s sick, I don’t care if the shelter can help with bills. I don’t have a lot of money, but I’m sure I have enough to take care of a little dog,” she said.
The staff took Melani to a kennel where Jake was. He had two other dog companions who both ignored the visitor, but Jake immediately perked up and began howling. Melani took it as a sign that he wanted to go with her. So she took him.
The shelter employees were delighted that one of their longest-standing residents was about to be adopted.
Bobby Mann, the public relations coordinator for the shelter, told The Dodo: “It was amazing because she was one of the few people who actually gave this dog an opportunity, and you could just tell from that picture of how excited that dog was to have an opportunity to get out of the shelter. He was one of our longest-standing residents. We were hoping that someone like her would come along, and give him the life that he deserved.”
The picture that Bobby was referring to is the one below, taken before Melani and Jake left the shelter.
When Jake got into Melani’s car, it was apparent that he was nervous. But after a while, he began to feel at ease. Once they arrived home, Jake settled in effortlessly.
Melani observed from the way that Jake behaved that he knew how to “live” in a home. He knew how to crawl up on the chair and turn himself around. He knew how to lay down and sleep. From this, Melani supposed that the dog had been living in a house before and that he hadn’t been out on the streets for very long.
Melani understood that her best friend only had a short time left, and she wanted to make his remaining days as good as she can make it.
Melani said: “Every day I laugh a little bit more. It’s not so lonesome. I think [Jake] knows that I love him because he’ll come over to me and he’ll rub up against me and ask me to rub his backside. And then he’ll nose me with his nose. And a dog that doesn’t know that somebody loves him wouldn’t be doing anything like that.”
Melani took Jake out of the shelter and became the angel who loved and accepted him wholly, but from the looks of it, the kind-hearted adopter had been rescued in return by this little, four-legged fellow.
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