72-year-old grandmother Melani Andrews from California wanted to adopt a dog at her local shelter, but she had already made up her mind before she even entered the building. Melani wanted to adopt the dog that nobody else wanted to bring home.
She specifically asked for the oldest dog that was the least likely to find a forever home.
Melani was going through a rough period in her life, as she tragically lost her husband. Some time later, her pet Lola, a Staffordshire terrier, also passed away. Melani’s grandkids convinced her that she could use a new family member to keep her company.
“I was feeling down and a little depressed,” she said to The Dodo. “My grandkids came over one night, and they said, ‘Grandma, you need somebody to keep you company. You can’t just sit around here all by yourself.”
The woman finally took their advice and wanted to adopt a dog, but it had to be a special one.
“I wanted to help somebody — a dog — like Lola helped us, and so I told them I wanted the oldest dog they had, the one that everybody was passing up, and that I wanted to adopt him,” she recalls. “I don’t care if he’s sick, I don’t care if the shelter can help with bills. I don’t have a lot of money, but I’m sure I have enough to take care of a little dog.”
When Melani spotted the 12-year-old terrier Jake, she instantly fell in love. The dog was brought in as a stray a couple of months earlier.
“Jake’s two friends ignored me, but Jake perked up and started howling,” Melani told. “So I said, ‘It looks like he wants to go, and I’ll take him.’”
Staff members at the Front Street Animal Shelter were delighted that someone would want to adopt their oldest dog, but they also had to inform Melani about his condition.
The senior pup was partially blind, completely deaf and suffered from terminal skin cancer.
Doctors were unsure how long Jake had to live.
“They informed me that he had cancer and he had a limited amount of time,” she said. “And I thought, ‘We’re going to make his time as good as we can make it.’”
Bobby Mann, who works as a relations coordinator for the shelter, was delighted to hear that their oldest pup finally received the love that he rightfully deserved.
“It was amazing because she was one of the few people who actually gave this dog an opportunity, and you could just tell from that picture of how excited that dog was to have an opportunity to get out of the shelter,” the coordinator said. “He was one of our longest-standing residents. We were hoping that someone like her would come along, and give him the life that he deserved.”
Jake was still a bit nervous when Melani adopted him, and barked his caretakers goodbye. After a couple of minutes, the pup was completely comfortable being around Melani and settled in perfectly.
“He laid his head in my right hand, and I drove with my left hand,” she said. “It was like he was saying, ‘OK, let’s see how we do together.’ It was really cute. I’ve never had a dog do that to me.”
“You could tell by the way he came into the house that he’d been living in a home. He hadn’t been living on the streets for very long. He knew to crawl up on the chair, turn himself around, lay down and go to sleep, just like you see a cat on a chair.”
The two best friends are treasuring every moment they can spend together, even if that time is limited.
In a way, you could say that Melani not only rescued Jake, but Jake rescued Melani as well.
“Every day I laugh a little bit more. It’s not so lonesome. I think [he] knows that I love him because he’ll come over to me and he’ll rub up against me and ask me to rub his backside. And then he’ll nose me with his nose. And a dog that doesn’t know that somebody loves him wouldn’t be doing anything like that.”
“The way he’s taken a turnaround here, I may end up having him for a year — maybe two if I’m really lucky,” she said. “But when he goes, I’ll know he went happy.”
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