On her 11 acre property in Conyers, Georgia, Melissa runs “Old Dog Home.” The senior dog rescue offers patience, love, and support to rescue dogs over the age of 7 years from the Atlanta area.
Just like people, when dogs age they face new challenges that accompany getting old. But that doesn’t make them any less of loving and worthy companions and family members. Sadly, older dogs are often abandoned because their people don’t want to commit to their care or simply can’t afford to.
Melissa explains Old Dog Home’s noble and caring mission:
“For the dogs that come to us and can be rehabilitated and adopted out, we’re going to do so. We’ll do everything we can to give them a chance at love and a family for their last years. For those who are too old or too sick, we’ll be their family. They’ll live here until it’s their time to go, and when to do go to heaven (yes, all dogs do go to heaven, fight me on this), they’ll do it surrounded by people who love them. That’s my promise to the old dogs of Georgia.”
Her Family “Didn’t Want Her Anymore”
One day in December, Melissa received an urgent phone call from a veterinary partner. She explained in a Facebook post:
“There was a man who had brought in his elderly dog to be euthanized because he didn’t want to take care of her anymore. The dog was incredibly sweet and seemed to be in decent health. The staff couldn’t bear to euthanize her. Would we please consider taking her?”
At the time, Old Dog Home was pretty full. The rescue had a lot on its plate, with upcoming surgeries and the holidays approaching. Old Dog Home hadn’t planned on taking in any more dogs until after the new year. The veterinary staff, however, really pleaded with Melissa, insisting she was a sweet dog who deserved a chance. She agreed to go meet her.
Upon meeting the senior pup, estimated to be between 10 and 12 years old, Melissa found her in pretty ragged condition. She asked the dog’s family why they wanted to have her euthanized. They simply didn’t like her as much as their other dogs and were bored by her. They didn’t have the patience to manage her occasional accidents.
“I don’t like to pick on children, but the granddaughter looked at me and shrugged – ‘We just don’t really like her. We like our other dogs better.’ Meanwhile, the dog stood there wagging and wagging and wagging her tail.”
Melissa couldn’t believe how casually this family handed their dog off. They didn’t appear to know much about her medical history either, having received her from someone else.
“The man can’t tell me her age, if she’s spayed, or any else about her. ‘We just don’t want her anymore.’ We handed him an owner surrender form. They left. I tried not to cry.”
Abandoned But Certainly Not Unloved
Right away, Melissa had the dog checked out. She had a minor yeast infection (which might have caused some accidents) and a few old-age-related issues, but otherwise, she seemed to be doing just fine. The poor thing did appear pretty nervous and confused at her predicament, though.
“I checked on her again after her nap. She shakes and shakes and shakes. She’s scared and confused and has no idea what’s happening. She doesn’t want to get off the bed. She’s been shuffled around again, like a tacky gift no one wanted in the first place.”
Right from the moment she came under her care, Melissa was determined to show the dog she mattered.
“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. We named her Holly. Merry Christmas, baby girl.”
Holly Proves She Has More Love To Give And Life To Live
It brings me such joy to report this tragic tale actually has a joyous ending. A few months after Melissa saved her from euthanasia, Holly was adopted “by a wonderful veterinarian” and her family. People who knew she was worth it.
“She has two little girls now who absolutely *adore* her, as well as an 11 y/o senior doggie brother. Look at those happy faces!! Her family has a farm in the countryside, and she’s already made friends with the horses, goats, and chickens!”
These big, bright smiles say so much. One family didn’t see how special Holly was, but her true people did. Of course, Old Dog Home and the veterinarians who saw her for who she was were instrumental in saving her life.
“This is exactly why we do what we do. So that every old dog has the chance to spend their final years like THIS.”
Even though it’s heartbreaking that Holly’s family was so quick to get rid of her, I hope it warms your heart to see how happy her remaining years will be.