Deciding their 18-year-old pooch was more trouble than he was worth, a pair of dog owners took him to the local vet clinic for what they thought would be the last time. There, they told staff the little poodle was “stupid” and that they’d had their fill of him. But the animal medics weren’t so heartless; they reckoned there was life in the old dog yet.
Given the poodle’s advanced years, it’s not really surprising that his life was on the wane. The poor old pooch was blind and had lost all his teeth. Moreover, arthritis had gotten a grip on his frail old legs and he’d begun to suffer the odd accident back home. But was that really reason enough to cast him adrift?
Sadly, his owners seemed to think so. Perhaps reasoning that his days were numbered anyway, they decided to have their pet put down at a nearby veterinary clinic. In addition to saying that one of them didn’t like the animal, when asked why they were surrendering their dog, the Californian couple replied that the dog was “stupid.” It was a callous comment, for sure, and possibly even cruel. But did the vet staff agree?
Happily, they didn’t. The animal medics carried out a full examination of the dog and, while it was true that his best days were behind him, they saw no reason to end his life. Instead of a “stupid” dog, the staff saw a gorgeous, fluffy little poodle who certainly deserved better than to be put down. What’s more, they knew some other people would agree.
And those people were the folk at Muttville Senior Dog Rescue. As its name implies, Muttville is a San Franciso organization that specializes in helping and rehoming senior dogs. And happily, it had space for one more. Not that the little pooch would take up that much room, seeing as he tipped the scales at a measly six pounds. But what the dog lacked in weight, he more than made up for in heart.
You see, even with his rickety legs and dodgy teeth, he wasn’t in that bad shape at all for a dog of 18. In fact, according to Pedigree’s dog calculator, if the little guy were human he’d be an impressive 105 years old. Naming the ownerless pooch Figgy, workers at Muttville then started to think about how they could best help him.
Clearly, Figgy wasn’t going to be around for that much longer. And to make things worse, Muttville’s staff reckoned the senior dog probably had a brain tumor, too. Many places might have elected to euthanize the poor old pooch – but not Muttville. While the chances of dogs Figgy’s age getting adopted are slim, the shelter staff still believed that he deserved a chance to join a loving home. And they should know.
That’s because each year Muttville rescues around 1,000 dogs. Of course, the shelter didn’t give up on Figgy. But, conscious that the dog had been through a bit of an ordeal, the organization’s founder Sherri Franklin decided that housing Figgy in with the rest of Muttville’s intake wasn’t the best course of action. Instead, she had another plan up her sleeve.
Sherri reckoned the best place for Figgy was somewhere a little closer to home – her home, to be exact. So the pair of them headed to Franklin’s house for a much-needed spot of R&R. Meanwhile, the organization wrote an online post bigging up Figgy in the hope of finding him a warm place where he could live out the rest of his days.
“This sweet, elderly gentleman may be past his prime but still has a lot of love left to give,” the post read. “Could you be the special person to give him the care he deserves?” And nestled alongside the well-chosen prose was an adorable photo of Figgy. How could anyone resist?
Well, the answer is they couldn’t. Figgy might have been a poorly senior, but he still had an admirable zest for life. And one person knew straightaway that he was just the dog for her. What’s more, she had previous when it came to adopting senior dogs from Muttville’s ranks.
That person was a lady called Eileen, who’s pictured here on the right. Something of a veteran herself (at least in the adoption stakes), Eileen has cared for many a pooch to pass through Muttville’s kennels. And she was delighted with her latest acquisition, as she made clear to The Dodo. “There’s something about him that called to me,” she said.
Figgy had been advertised on Muttville’s website as a “hospice dog,” which basically meant that he had very little time left. The organization states that its hospice program entails “taking a dog into your home and giving it palliative care, love, and a wonderful life until it is their time for euthanasia.” Simply put, these animals are seeking a warm and caring environment in which to dream about chasing rabbits until doggy heaven beckons.
Moreover, Muttville has a number of individuals and families on its books who offer hospice care to its dogs. For hospice hero Eileen, Figgy was the fifth such animal that she has cared for. Given Eileen’s obvious experience with such vulnerable pets, Figgy certainly landed on his paws. And his touching story began to spread far and wide.
As well as appearing on Muttville’s website, the poodle’s eventful journey was also given the film treatment and shared on the shelter’s Facebook page. Referring to the hound’s new life with carer Eileen, the post accompanying the video said, “Now Figgy is safe, warm, and loved.” And that was music to a lot of people’s ears.
So far, the video has had over 200,000 views. And those who have seen it have expressed gratitude to the shelter and shared their own similar stories. Rhonda Pierce Moreno is one. “I rescue senior dogs because I want to make their golden years as wonderful as possible and give them the love they deserve,” she wrote.
“Thank you Muttville for finding homes for seniors,” she continued. “They deserve good homes with caring people to live out the rest of their lives knowing what love is.” Elizabeth Warren was also keen to praise Muttville. “Thank you for stepping in and helping Figgy,” she wrote. “I just cannot fathom people!” And she wasn’t the only one.
Plenty of other online users expressed disbelief at the behavior of the couple who had abandoned Figgy. And a lot of anger was directed at the woman who wanted to get rid of the dog. One particular comment by Naomi Lisby resonated with many others who viewed Muttville’s video.
“Hope you are dumped when you are OLD!” it read. “Your husband should have dumped you because you are cruel and disgusting. Wish remaining loved filled days for this PRECIOUS baby.” Indeed, Lisby’s no-holds-barred approach has received the most likes out of all the comments written so far.
Words aside, though, this is a story that ended beautifully. Thanks to the dedication of Muttville and the goodness of Eileen, Figgy has found a place to live out the remainder of his doggy days. And it’s good to know that, in a world where being thought of as “stupid” could cost a pet its life, there are decent folk ready to challenge that thinking.