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Happy Tail: A bald, skinny dog gains a best friend


November is Adopt-A-Senior-Pet Month, when we spotlight older homeless pets, who often get passed over in favor of puppies and kittens.

The 10-year-old dog in today’s Happy Tail found himself in search of a home after years of neglect had left him skinny and bald, his gums severely diseased. He didn’t have a lot going for him.


Read Willie Nelson’s story in his adopter Caroline’s own words.

But when Caroline Esclapez saw him listed on Petfinder by the Animal Welfare Society of Howard County in Columbia, MD, her heart went out to him and she adopted him.

“He had the demeanor of a little middle-aged hippie troubadour, so I named him Willie Nelson,” the Baltimore woman says. She gave him lots of TLC and “wonderful veterinary care,” and soon he transformed into “a gorgeous Schnoodle.”

His emotional adjustment took some time — he had severe separation anxiety. “He was scratching my door to the point of his paws bleeding every time I left for work,” she recalls. Her friend Dave has a doggie daycare and offered to let Willie come there for free while Caroline was at work.

Dave’s own dog, a Boxer named Lilly, and Willie became
best friends. “When they see each other, tails start wagging, they run
to each other and start to affectionately wrestle,” Caroline says.
“Willie goes to Lilly’s when I need to go away, and Lilly comes over
when Dave has to go somewhere. So they regularly have sleepovers. They
sleep next to each other, under the same blanket in the winter, and in
the morning, they always start their day with the loving wrestling

Now, two years after he was adopted, Willie still goes to the doggie daycare
several times a week. “They call him the gendarme — which means
policeman in French — because when he is there, he spends his days
bossing the dogs around,” Caroline says. “If dogs start playing a little
too rough, he barks at them to make them stop.”

At the end of a busy day hiking or “working” at the daycare, Willie
drops to sleep, snoring like an old man and occasionally barking, his
short little legs running. “He is probably dreaming of his day,”
Caroline says.

And what nice days they are, now that this little dog is in a loving home.

Tell us your story:
Did you adopt a pet you found on Petfinder? Submit your Happy Tail for a chance to be featured on the Petfinder blog, homepage and more!

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Previous Happy Tails:

An emaciated Golden Retriever becomes a beloved pet

A Dalmatian goes from shelter dog to spokesdog

No fenced-in yard required!

After 5 years in a shelter, a three-legged Rottweiler goes home

A deaf senior helps three grieving girls

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

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