At the sweet old age of eighteen, Julep the dog found herself in quite the unexpected predicament. Locked in a cage at an animal shelter, she didn’t understand why she was there. Not only had she been the perfect companion to her owner for 18 years, but after the death of her owner, it seemed like her chances of ever finding a new home seemed slim to none. That is, until a man on a motorbike turned up at the shelter…
A Sad Beginning
Our story begins in February 2017 where poor Julep found herself alone in a cold animal shelter. A beautiful senior girl, she had been dropped off under the most grim of circumstances. You won’t believe what this poor girl has been through.
Left Alone in the Cold
After Julep’s owner unexpectedly passed away, she didn’t have anywhere to go. Not wanted by her owner’s family, they decided the best thing to do was drop her off at an animal shelter. We feel so bad for poor little Julep!
The Oldest Dog in the Joint
Julep was taken to the Humane Rescue Alliance in Washington, D.C. In commission for over 100 years, the shelter had helped thousands of animals find new homes. However, they’d never had a case like Julep who was the oldest dog they’ve ever had at the shelter.
A Sweet Girl with Potential
The shelter’s communications officer, David M. Smith had this to say to PEOPLE , “Julep is a sweet girl, who – given her age – is doing pretty well here at our adoption facility. We’re keeping her spirits up, and she’s getting lots of attention from our staff. But a dog at this age truly needs to be at home where she can get ALL of the attention.”
Loving Life Despite Her Circumstances
Although Julep was in her prime, she still was active and loved to live life to the fullest. According to the rescue group, she simply needed a new start and a couch to sleep on. Would anyone come to Julep’s aid?
Touching Hearts Across the State
When the rescue posted Julep’s story to social media, it touched the hearts of thousands. As people shared her story, hundreds of people shared her plight with the hopes of finding her a new home.
Not Much Hope for Old Girl
Unfortunately, the staff at the shelter didn’t hold out much hope for Julep to be adopted. According to the shelter’s director, despite how kind Julep was, most people weren’t looking for senior dogs. It usually took them quite awhile to be adopted.
A Possible Hero
Unknown to Julep, her shot at a new life was possibly close. Washington, D.C. native, Wayne Lerch was currently grieving as well. His sweet pit bull Jasmine had died recently and after 11 years, the void it left in his heart was too much to bear.
Missing His Dog
According to Lerch, he stated, “I had Jasmine for about ten-and-a-half years. She was just such an amazing dog. A 60-pound pit bull that thought she was a lapdog. She was probably the hardest dog for me to lose.”
Not really searching for a new dog quite so soon, Lerch stumbled upon a social media posting about Julep. Touched by her plight, he decided to go visit the shelter the next day to meet her.
Love at First Sight
Lerch wasn’t sure he was ready to replace Jasmine just yet, so instead of taking his car, he drove his motorbike to the shelter so he would have time to think. He didn’t want to make any quick decisions. However, the moment he met Julep all rational thought went out the window. He knew she was the dog for him.
Happy Ending Here She Comes!
Not one to ask many questions, Lerch immediately went home to get his car. Julep’s life was finally about to turn around and even better; she only had to spend a month at the shelter. Her happy ending was in sight!
An Emotional Goodbye
According to John Tolley, one of the spokesmen for Humane Rescue Alliance, there wasn’t a single dry eye in the room on the day Julep went to her new home. “We see a lot of happy endings and try not to get too emotional. But the combination of her age and Wayne’s obvious adoration for his new ‘old lady’ left us in tears.”
New Home at Last
After arriving at her new home, Julep received a name change. Lerch decided to name her Tootie after his grandmother. It didn’t take long for Julep to get used to her new name, and soon she felt comfortable in her new home as well.
Overcoming the Past
According to Lerch, meeting Julep helped him overcome the death of Jasmine. Believing the right dog comes at the right time, he knew that Tootie was the one the minute he saw her on Facebook.
New Name and New Outlook
Despite Tootie’s age, Lerch plans to make every single day count for his new partner in crime. “I know she’s not going to be around for very long, but that’s okay. She deserves to live out the rest of her life in a loving home with somebody who’s going to take care of her and pamper her and make sure that she enjoys the last bit of life she has.”
Senior Dogs Need Love
Even though Tootie has found her happy ending, there are still many other senior dogs waiting to find homes. Despite being out of the puppy stage, that doesn’t mean they aren’t in need of a loving home. Most senior dogs are quiet and less work due to already being housebroken.
Golden Years in Peace
Thankfully, we know Tootie is going to live out her golden years surrounded by love and all the treats she can eat. However, for the other senior dogs currently in shelters, a happy ending is not a guarantee. Don’t they deserve a couch to sleep on and never ending treats too?
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