It’s always heartbreaking when families surrender their dogs to shelters, but it’s even more cruel when it’s a senior dog — these dogs are upended from the only home they’ve ever known, and it’s difficult for older dogs to get adopted.
Recently, one 21-year-old dog was dumped at a shelter in Northern Ireland — and now she’s looking for a new home.
According to the Carrick Dog Shelter, a Labrador mix named Holly was surrendered by her owners for being “too old.” Holly is indeed old — at 21, she’s well past the average lifespan of a dog and about 150 in dog years — but that’s no reason to give up a pet.
Even worse, the owners apparently tried to have Holly put to sleep — it was only after the dog warden stepped in to spare her life and put her in the care of the shelter.
“It is beyond belief that anyone could surrender their dog at the age of 21 and tell the dog warden to take her away and put her to sleep – with only strangers by her side,” Helen Hewett, manager of the Carrick Dog Shelter told Belfast Live.
Holly had reportedly lived with the same owner her whole life, and according to Newsweek had been housed outside on a chain.
While Holly’s eyesight and hearing have dulled with age, she’s still relatively healthy and active, and there was no reason to want to have her put down. “This old girl still had a good bit of life about her,” Hewett said. “This dog was not ready to be put to sleep – anyone could see that.”
While the situation is heartbreaking, all they can do now is try to give Holly the best life possible. Holly was brought to Almost Home Animal Rescue’s Heather House, a special facility for senior dogs. She’s settling in and getting all the care she needs, and will possibly be adopted out to a new forever home.
“We opted for this offer as we knew that a full vet assessment and continuing veterinary care would be provided along with all the other support required,” Hewett told Newsweek.
Senior dogs are often passed over by adopters, but Holly’s story has generated interest: According to a Facebook post, Carrick Dog Shelter received a “volume of hugely kind offers” to give Holly a home, so maybe she’ll find a new family soon — one that will love her even in her old age.
“To get to this age is remarkable and shows a love of life,” Hewett told Belfast Live. “She deserves the very best and every chance of life, and a good life and she will get that now, whether in Heather House or with a family.”
“Despite being initially shocked that such an old dog was surrendered to the pound by her owners, the outcome for Holly has now been the best ever we could have wished for,” Hewett told Newsweek.
It’s heartbreaking that anyone would abandon such a sweet dog just for being “too old,” but we’re glad that Holly is in good hands and hope she is able to spend the rest of her days with love and peace.
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