The staff at a New York animal shelter were taken aback when a senior dog was surrendered because her family was moving.
Sophia, a 14-year-old golden retriever, was surrendered to Friends Forever Animal Rescue on June 26, the shelter said in a Facebook post.
“This is the face of a 14-year-old dog who just lost her home because they were moving,” the shelter said. “She is confused and wondering where her people are and where she is going.”
Casey Newton, founder of the shelter, told CNY Central Sophia’s owner said she had been driving around to all the area shelters, hoping someone would take Sophia. The owner told Newton this was their last stop, she said.
“To see Sophia’s reaction as the car drove away – wondering ‘Where are you going?’” Newton told the outlet. “I think that is the hardest part because we see it so often. It is so sad. The dogs have this look like they are left with this feeling that they did something to deserve being deserted, and that is not OK.”
Sophia joined Newton’s home while her health was evaluated, the shelter said on Facebook, and was “enjoying being flea free and comfortable” in the meantime.
The post was flooded with comments of support and love for Sophia, and shock that a dog as old as her would be surrendered.
“This is heartbreaking and it happens far too often,” one person wrote. “Thank you so much for what you do. She will soon understand that she is safe and loved.”
“I hope she can find a loving family for the rest of her days. She deserves the best and so much more,” another said.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals estimates 3.1 million dogs enter U.S. shelters every year.
Of the millions of dogs in shelters, there is an average adoption rate of 60 percent, the ASPCA says, but that number drops to 25 percent for senior dogs.
“I try not to judge people,” Newton told CNY Central. “My job is to help animals. But this just hit me so hard.”
But Sophia gets a happy ending.
On June 27, the shelter announced their “sweet girl” was being adopted by one of the veterinarians on staff and would spend the rest of her years with him and his family.
“We couldn’t have asked for a better place for this old lady,” the shelter said.
Friends Forever Animal Rescue operates in Pennellville, about 270 miles northwest of New York City.