Inspiration

18-Year-Old Shelter Dog Finds Her Forever Home

This animal rescue story made us cry happy tears.

Dogs are the purest creatures on this planet. They are beautiful and kind and loving and we really don’t deserve them. But there is none purer and sweeter than one old dog named Julep. At 18 years old, this pup found herself in an animal shelter. But thanks to one amazing man, she’s finally found her second forever home.

This tear-jerking story starts with the death of Julep’s original owner. When the former owner’s family couldn’t take care of the 18-year-old dog, she ended up at Washington D.C.’s Humane Rescue Alliance, where she stayed for nearly a month.

According to Alix John Tolley, spokesperson for Washington, D.C.’s Humane Rescue Alliance, Julep was definitely one of the oldest, “if not the oldest,” dogs that the shelter had ever taken in. “She’s lived a long and happy life,” he said in an email to TODAY.

The shelter put up a post on Facebook, hoping someone would see Julep’s sweet face and fall in love. “She’s looking for a fresh start,” the post reads. “She doesn’t need much, just a couch to sleep on and a human to love.”

 

And that human would be Wayne Lerch, a man struggling with the death of his 11-year-old pit bull after she passed away suddenly in December. He saw the post online and was instantly drawn to Julep. So much so that he got to the adoption center before it even opened.

Lerch arrived at the shelter on his motorcycle so he couldn’t make a snap decision and adopt the dog right off the bat—there would have been no way to get her home. But he never had a choice. As soon as the shelter opened and he met Julep, “I knew right away,” he told TODAY.

RELATED:   An Old Dog Cries As She Welcomes Her Best Friend Home From The Army

Lerch immediately turned around and went home to get his car. When he returned, Julep walked out the door with him, a month after coming to the shelter.

“There wasn’t a dry eye in the room,” Tolley 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.”

Lerch says that Julep’s first days at home have been a dream come true for both of them. She’s helping ease the pain of losing one dog and “she is, I think, happy as a pig in slop,” he said in an interview with TODAY.

Julep is already a spoiled girl—even though she’s healthy, 18 is very old for a dog—and Lerch wants to make sure that, however long Julep lives, every minute is perfect. And surprise! She’s even been given a new name: Tootie, after Lerch’s grandmother… and also a reference to the dessert tutti frutti, since the pup is a total treat hound.

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

You can watch the emotional video of Lerch and Julep leaving the shelter together below. Excuse us, we have to go cry for an hour now.