dog

Senior dog abandoned at shelter faced an uncertain fate

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Jul. 5 2024, Published 12:30 p.m. ET

In 2010, Netty, a pit bull mix, found a home shortly after being taken to a Philadelphia shelter. Fast forward to 2022, and the 15-year-old dog was heartbreakingly returned by her family with a request to have her put to sleep due to age-related incontinence. "She was returned with a requested euthanasia," said Maddie Bernstein, manager of lifesaving at the Pennsylvania SPCA. Her previous owners "weren't interested in talking about other options for her, like medications."

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Upon examination, the shelter's veterinary team realized that Netty still had a good quality of life ahead of her. "They felt like she still had a quality of life," Bernstein said. "They started her on meds, and she did really well. She was starting to improve." With this hopeful outlook, the shelter staff embarked on a mission to find Netty a new home, aware of the challenges in placing senior dogs.

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Determined to find Netty a loving home, the Pennsylvania SPCA turned to social media, a platform that had previously helped them with similar cases. "Netty is VERY low maintenance and could live with dogs, cats and respectful kids. Can you please help us spread the word about this beautiful soul to get her out of the shelter and into a warm, cozy bed?"

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The heartfelt plea reached Amy Kidd, a veterinarian from West Chester, Pennsylvania. Kidd and her family had recently lost their senior rescue dog, Monty, to cancer. "As soon as I saw her face, I was like okay, she's the one that needs to come to my house," Kidd said. Kidd has made it her mission to care for senior dogs, giving them a second chance at a happy life, despite many being labeled as "hospice dogs" with limited time. "When they get to our house, it's kind of a fountain of youth," Kidd said.

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Kidd’s daughter, Emilea Suplick, along with her brothers, drove to Philadelphia to bring Netty home. "It was time to meet her, and I saw her walk down the hallway," Suplick recalled. "She sniffed me and gave me a little bit of a tail wag." Netty, who seldom wagged her tail at the shelter, seemed to know she had found her forever home. On the ride home, Netty was calm and adjusted quickly to her new surroundings.

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The family's care and medication managed Netty’s incontinence, and her arthritis improved noticeably. "She's kind of a stubborn girl, and it's pretty funny because she's supposed to be this old lady that can't walk," Kidd shared. "She is officially the queen bee of the house. She made her way all the way up the stairs by herself, no problem. She does that on a daily basis... I have a feeling she's going to be around for quite a bit."

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Suplick, a junior at the University of Pittsburgh, expressed her joy in having Netty. "She has so much to offer, and we are so lucky to have her. I hope that other people are inspired by her story and give adult dogs a chance."

Netty's journey underscores the importance of giving older dogs a chance. If you are considering adopting a pet, think about the joy and love an older dog can bring into your home. By opening your heart to a senior dog, you can give them the comfort and care they deserve in their golden years.

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