‘Their Human-Animal Bond is Undeniable:’ Malnourished Senior Rescue Finds Forever Home to Live Out His Golden Years


Joe’s story was originally shared in the Clear the Shelters Adoption Story Challenge on ShelterChallenge.com. Create your own free Shelter Challenge account and vote for your favorite shelter or rescue group to win cash and prizes. Every time you vote we’ll give an extra donation to shelters!

At Dane County Humane Society (DCHS) we see heartbreaking situations, but your support gives animals hope, time, and the medical care they need to recover.

When Joe, a senior lab mix, arrived as a stray at DCHS, his soulful brown eyes and wagging tail pleaded for help. It was shocking to see his rib and hip bones sticking out of his frail body. He was extremely skinny, weighing just 22 pounds when he should have weighed closer to 50 pounds. Joe would have a long road to recovery ahead of him.

Joe spent nearly a month at the shelter, enjoying snuggles in a staff office and long walks in the summer sun. He was a happy boy, but wasn’t gaining weight at a steady enough pace. After many diagnostic tests ruled out an underlying medical condition, we decided Joe would do best recovering in a loving foster home.

During his nearly two-month stay with his foster family, Joe’s goofy personality truly blossomed. He loved lounging on the patio furniture, playing with his foster siblings, and tossing his favorite stuffed whale toy into the air. However, Joe still struggled to consistently gain weight and, to make matters worse, he was becoming a picky eater.

Joe’s foster mom, Sheila, patiently tempted Joe with a variety of home cooked meals. Sheila soon discovered Joe was a big fan of egg omelets. This special treat sparked Joe’s appetite and helped him reach 35 pounds. This milestone meant Joe was finally healthy enough to be made available for adoption!

Just a few days later, Vicki and her daughter Emily quickly fell in love with this sweet senior gentleman and took him home. Joe adores his new family right back, especially Emily. He sleeps at the foot of Emily’s bed every night and won’t leave the room until she is awake. Their human-animal bond is undeniable.

The extra work of making Joe’s special diet was a challenge embraced by his new family. Joe continues to heal and gain weight, and has even become his new mom’s running partner. “He seems to be very content here and I’m sure he realizes he is here to stay,” says Vicki. “We love him to pieces!”




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