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Biker With A Heart Of Gold Adopts 18-Year-Old Shelter Dog

Written by: Dina Fantegrossi
Dina Fantegrossi is the Assistant Editor and Head Writer for HomeLife Media. Before her career in writing, Dina was a veterinary technician for more than 15 years.Read more
| Published on May 23, 2022

Julep’s story is all too common. The senior Pit Bull-type dog found herself in the care of Humane Rescue Alliance (HRA) in Washington D.C. at the end of February when her elderly owner passed away.

What set Julep apart – and made rescue workers frightened for her future – was the fact that the white-faced gal is 18-years-old, the eldest dog to enter the HRA shelter in recent memory.


The staff were understandably concerned that no one would be willing to adopt a dog of such advanced age. It broke their hearts to think that the sweet, chocolate Pibble might be destined to live out her final days inside a kennel, lost and confused as to how her previously happy life slipped away.

If it weren’t for an amazing man named Wayne Lerch, that may very well have been how this story ended. Thankfully, Lerch saw Julep’s story on the HRA Facebook page and sprang to action. The very next morning he was waiting outside the door when the shelter opened.


Lerch wasn’t positive that he and Julep would be a match, so he took precautions to make sure he didn’t make any snap decisions. The leather-clad biker with the handlebar mustache arrived at HRA on his motorcycle, knowing it would prevent him from taking Julep home then and there.

You see, Lerch was still reeling from the death of his beloved 11-year-old Pit Bull, Jasmine in December. The two had a special bond, and he wanted to make sure that the same spark was there with his next dog. Lerch told that as soon as he met Julep, he “knew right away.” Apparently the sparks were flying!

Wayne Lerch via Facebook

Well they show up in your life when they are supposed to. Everyone, meet Tootie, after my Grand Mother and tutti-fruttie. I just want to say thank you to Pinups for Pitbulls for helping me find my wonderful companion.

Lerch promptly biked home and returned with his car. As the new best friends walked out of the shelter together, there wasn’t a dry eye in the room.  Alix John Tolley, spokesperson for Humane Rescue Alliance said:

“We see a lot of happy endings and try not to get too emotional. But the combination of her age and Wayne’s obvious adoration for his new ‘old lady’ left us in tears.”

After just a few days together, it is clear that Lerch and Julep – who he renamed Tootie after his grandmother and the candy, Tutti Frutti (because Tootie is a treat hound!) – are a perfect match. Miss Tootie has settled right in to her new home, and Lerch has found that her presence is helping him heal from Jasmine’s loss.

He knows that they likely will not have too much time together, but Lerch plans to make the most of every second. For now, Tootie is healthy, happy and full of love, and he intends to give that love right back to her every day for the rest of her life!

“I couldn’t let her spend one more night in the shelter,” he told TODAY. “She’s saving me as much as I’m helping her.”

H/T to
Featured Images via Facebook/Humane Rescue Alliance


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