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