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Happy Tail: A deaf senior helps three grieving girls


Special-needs pets often have trouble finding homes — and the challenge is even greater for pets with special needs who are no longer young.


Read about Gracie (with Beth’s niece Carina) in Beth’s own words.

So when Sheltie Shack Rescue in Riley, KS, took in Gracie, an 11-year-old Sheltie, they knew her chances of being adopted were slim: A retired breeder, Gracie was not only old, she was also totally deaf.

She had been in another home for a year and was then relinquished because the family said she didn’t fit into their lifestyle. Sheltie Shack’s volunteers knew they needed to cast a wide net to find a special person for this special dog, so they listed her on Petfinder.

That special person was Beth Arnold of Gurnee, IL. When she saw the
pooch on Petfinder, it was love at first sight. “My husband and I
hesitated to bring another dog into our home, as we already had three,
but there was something telling us to do it,” Beth says.

Their gut feeling wasn’t wrong. Gracie has fit into the Arnolds’ household without a hitch, and her deafness has not been an impediment. What has been amazing for the Arnolds to discover is Gracie’s sensitivity to people’s emotional needs. A case in point: A few weeks ago, Beth’s niece passed away at age 31, leaving three young girls motherless. Beth went to Michigan for a week to be with the family, taking Gracie along.

Usually Gracie sticks to Beth like glue, but in Michigan, “Gracie never left those little girls’ sides,” Beth says. “Carina especially needed her.” It’s not an isolated case. “I don’t know how Gracie senses it, but she always gravitates to the ones who need her most,” Beth says. “She always goes to the people who are hurting.”

Though the Arnolds rescued Gracie, to Beth, Gracie herself is the rescuer. She’s the family’s amazing Gracie.

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Previous Happy Tails:

A dog was ‘less adoptable’ for an unexpected reason

A woman who needs healing finds a Pit Bull who needs love

A big black dog beats the odds

A rescued Eskie dog makes a 10-year-old’s wish come true

‘Pit Bull wanted, must love cats’

Dumped by a backyard breeder, a Yorkie gets a second chance

A Labradoodle trades shelter life for spa treatments

Deaf puppy Ollie’s whole litter was adopted, but he was still waiting

After five years of waiting, Tiger Tom finds a home

Two Maine Coon cats are adopted after a 6-month search

Inmates partner with pets to give both a second chance

A Petfinder staffer can’t resist one pet’s profile

A nurturing cat helps another who needs a friend

An injured cat is adopted and becomes a celebrity

A kitten’s photo convinces a woman to adopt, not buy

A mama cat is rescued from a home with 50 animals

A rescued Pit Bull brightens the breed’s tarnished reputation

A big black dog is perfect for a boy with Down Syndrome

An adopted dog provides the perfect cure for a broken spirit

The puppy had been tightly bungee-corded to a bicycle

A cat with cerebellar hypoplasia teaches unconditional love

A dog inspires a chocolate company; plus: WIN treats from Rescue Chocolate!

Two autistic boys find guinea pigs are perfect pets

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