Ever since her husband’s recent passing, Melani felt depression sinking in. Then when she suffered the loss of another loved one, it was too much for her. She couldn’t stand the empty house, so Melani left for the local shelter with a heart-melting request.
The full name of the woman in question is Melani Andrews, who lives in Galt, California. At 72 years old, she’s seen a lot come to pass during her lifetime. But recent years have been particularly hard emotionally due to personal losses.
That’s because up until three years ago, Andrews lived with her husband Jim and a Staffordshire terrier called Lola. But two tragedies came along together, the first being Jim’s passing on January 21, 2015. Although it broke Andrews’ heart, Lola no doubt provided some comfort.
Unfortunately, just two years later on February 28, 2017, Lola also crossed over the rainbow bridge after an accident. As if losing one loved one wasn’t enough, Andrews faced the absence of two long-term presences in her life. Needless to say, it wasn’t easy to cope with.
The senior citizen described her emotional state to The Dodo on August 23, 2017. “I was feeling down and a little depressed,” Andrews revealed. Although visits from her family cheered her up, the house still felt awfully empty, which only worsened matters.
In that regard, Andrews’s grandchildren had a suggestion. “My grandkids came over one night,” the grandmother recounted, “and they said, ‘Grandma, you need somebody to keep you company. You can’t just sit around here all by yourself.” After mulling it over, Andrews agreed.
With this in mind, she paid a visit to Sacramento’s Front Street Animal Shelter (FSAS) looking for a furfriend. However, Andrews wasn’t just looking for some company; she also had an altruistic motive. “I wanted to help somebody – a dog – like Lola helped us,” she told The Dodo.
As a result, she made a request of FSAS that melted shelter staff’s hearts. “I told them I wanted the oldest dog they had,” Andrews revealed. “The one that everybody was passing up, and [said] that I wanted to adopt him.”
The grandmother continued, “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.” FSAS workers subsequently took Andrews to meet three dogs.
Two of them paid no attention to Andrews, but the third – a terrier called Jake – howled at her arrival. Jake was a senior citizen himself at the grand old age of 12. Someone had recently brought him into FSAS after he had spent some time as a stray.
Jake had, however, been at the shelter for a long time. Many potential adopters passed the terrier by, not only because of his age, but also because of his health issues. Jake had terminal skin cancer in addition to partial blindness and complete deafness.
The senior terrier spent months in the shelter due to these problems, but it didn’t deter Andrews. “So I said, ‘It looks like he wants to go, and I’ll take him,’” she said. FSAS public relations coordinator Bobby Mann revealed staff feelings to The Dodo.
“It was amazing because she was one of the few people who actually gave this dog an opportunity,” Mann said. “And you could just tell from that picture of how excited that dog was to have an opportunity to get out of the shelter.”
Mann continued, “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.” And that’s exactly what Andrews intended to do, despite whatever limited time she had with Jake.
“I thought, ‘We’re going to make his time as good as we can make it,’” Andrews said. The pair even connected in the car on the way back to Jake’s new home. “He laid his head in my right hand, and I drove with my left hand,” the terrier’s new mom revealed.
In fact, the adoption did wonders for both Jake and Andrews, as she revealed when she described their relationship. She told The Dodo, “Every day I laugh a little bit more. It’s not so lonesome. I think [Jake] knows that I love him.”
“He’ll come over to me, and he’ll rub up against me and ask me to rub his backside,” said Andrews. “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.”
Andrews dedicated herself to Jake’s care to give him the best life that he could possibly have. She gave him soothing coconut baths for his skin condition and warmed his water to protect his sensitive teeth. And most importantly, she loved him.
“The way he’s taken a turnaround here, I may end up having him for a year,” Andrews commented. “Maybe two if I’m really lucky. But when he goes, I’ll know he went happy.” That inevitable day came just three months later.
Jake passed away in November 2017, cared for and happy just as his mommy hoped. And as she intended, Andrews made his life the best that it could be when few others would. The kind-hearted senior currently shares her love with another dog called Maddie. But she’ll never forgot Jake, the dog whose life she completed.