It’s always heartbreaking to have to put a dog to sleep. For most pet owners, it’s a day you dread with all your heart.
Euthanasia is something that should only be done when an animal is terminally ill and will end suffering. Even animal shelters now do everything they can do avoid putting their animals down.
So it’s shocking that some people can be so heartless as to request their healthy pets be euthanized, for no other reason than they don’t want them anymore. That was the heartbreaking reality for one old dog… but luckily, a kindhearted rescue found space to take her in.
A woman named Melissa runs an animal rescue called Old Dog Home from her home in Conyers, Georgia. The mission is to take in and rehome older dogs, giving them the second chance they might not have otherwise because of their age.
“They are remarkably resilient and forgiving, and they deserve to have a chance at a Forever Family just as much as any younger dog does,” Melissa wrote on Facebook.
She’s saved 25 dogs in the past year—a lot for a small self-operated animal rescue.
Dogs come in and out of her home all the time, and after years of doing this you’d think she’d seen everything… but one recent story truly broke her heart.
On November 25, Melissa got an urgent call from the shelter’s veterinary partners. They said they had a family who were asking their old dog be euthanized because they didn’t want her anymore.
But the dog was “incredibly sweet and seemed to be in decent health,” Melissa wrote, so the vets did not want to go through with it. They asked if Melissa could take the dog in.
It was no small favor: Melissa says that she was already overwhelmed at the rescue, between a full house and upcoming medical treatments, not to mention the holidays.
But without her interference, it seemed the dog would be senselessly put to sleep, so she went to see the dog.
It was a female dog, about 10-12 years old and very dainty. She was suffering from minor treatable health issues, including a yeast infection, but was also filthy and uncared for.
Melissa met the man surrendering her for euthanasia. Apparently, the dog had been passed around to different families after the original owner passed away, and this family had no interest in caring for her. They didn’t even have basic information about her health.
“We just don’t want her anymore,” the man said.
Even his young granddaughter didn’t care at all: “We just don’t really like her. We like our other dogs better.”
But Melissa saw there was plenty of life left in this old, abandoned dog. She saw her tail wagging, even throughout the heartbreaking situation.
“She’s scared and confused and has no idea what’s happening,” Melissa wrote. “She’s been shuffled around again, like a tacky gift no one wanted in the first place.”
“I’ve wrapped her in blankets and held her and snuggled her. She relaxed a little. She started to snore. I whispered to her and promised her that from now on, she will always be loved and wanted, no matter what.”
She named the dog Holly, and gave her a home just in time for Thanksgiving.
Holly received veterinary care. Miraculously she did not have heartworms or any serious condition, although she did have an infection.
Holly’s story went viral on Facebook. Three days after her story was posted, Old Dog Home’s Facebook follower count tripled.
Adoption requests came pouring in. Holly won’t go to a new home until her health is all cleared, but Melissa is hoping to have a forever home lined up soon. She says she works hard to make sure each dog goes to the perfect home.
“When the time is right, and she is healed physically *AND* emotionally, we will find an amazing, loving family for Holly, where she will be placed with care, and where she will get to be spoiled and hand fed steak for the rest of her life,” Melissa wrote.
“And then I will have another open spot, and I’ll save another old abandoned dog that nobody wanted… That’s the dream, folks.”
Thank you to Melissa for giving a second chance to this beautiful old dog! It’s heartbreaking to think that she was almost killed for no reason.
Remember to support rescues and consider adopting older dogs who may have trouble finding forever homes! Share this inspiring story!