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Abandoned By Her Family But Championed by the Internet, This 14-Year-Old Dog May Get a Happy Ending

Dessie was surrendered to a Miami high-kill shelter. That could have been the end of her story, but the senior Collie went viral on Facebook and will now go to a foster home.

Chris Hall  |  Jun 17th 2015


It’s hard to find new homes for senior dogs. When people go to shelters to adopt, they’re usually looking for puppies. If older dogs get adopted at all, it’s usually after they’ve lingered in the shelter for months or weeks. This sad reality is one of the reasons we have such a big soft spot in our collective Dogster heart for Muttville here in San Francisco.

But social media helped stop that story from playing out at least this one time. Dessie, a Collie estimated to be about 14 years old, was dropped off at Miami-Dade Animal Services on Sunday afternoon. For whatever reason, her family brought her in, then just left. “Imagine living with someone for 14 years and all of a sudden they abandon you. That’s exactly what happened,” Lyndsey Gurowitz-Furman, a member of rescue group “A Way For a Stray,” told NBC.

Dessie (Image from A Way For a Stray)

Dessie (Image from A Way For a Stray)

Usually, a story like Dessie’s ends one of two ways: staying in a cage or foster care for years on end, or euthanasia. A lot of people thought that Dessie was headed for the latter fate. Miami-Dade Animal Services has a reputation as a high-kill shelter. Stray dogs are given at least a five-day waiting period before anything is done with them. Dogs surrendered by their owners don’t even get that small grace period.

The image that went viral and perhaps saved Dessie's life (Image via Urgent Dogs of Miami)

The image that went viral and perhaps saved Dessie’s life (Image via Urgent Dogs of Miami)

But when Dessie was brought in, her picture was posted to Facebook by Urgent Dogs of Miami, a collection of volunteers who publicize the dogs available for adoption at Miami-Dade Animal Services. For whatever reason, that picture went viral. Dessie’s picture was shared over 1,500 times, bringing her to the attention of A Way For a Stray. They’ve now taken her to the vet and have a foster home lined up for her while they look for a new forever home where she can live out her last years. “Her personality is lovely, she is extremely sweet, she loves all people that she meets. She pretty much ignores other dogs,” volunteer Jeannie Dykstra said.

(Image via A Way For a Stray)

Dessie (Image via A Way For a Stray)

Not all dogs get that happy ending, so we’ll take it when we can. As A Way For a Stray says on its Facebook page, “Dessie is just one of several senior dogs sitting at Miami Dade Animal Services waiting for someone to give them a second chance. If you are in the position to adopt, please consider giving one of the seniors at the shelter a chance to get out free… There is nothing like the love of an old dog.”

Good luck to Dessie, and we hope she finds a forever home soon.

Via NBC, A Way for a Stray, and Urgent Dogs of Miami

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