The U.K.’s Oldest Rescue Dog Beats the Adoption Odds and Gets New Bestie


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As a rescue animal, finding a forever home is seldom an easy task. So many adopters are looking for younger animals or puppies and kittens, making it much harder to compete for attention if you’re a senior pet. They may have all of the qualities and charm an adoptive pet parent is searching for in a companion but continue to be overlooked because of their advanced years. If dogs could talk, they’d tell you that ageism is real.

Beating the Odds

But every once in a while, a senior animal beats the odds and is in and out of a shelter or rescue in just a matter of months. That was the case recently with a handsome gent named Ty, a 22-year-old Staffordshire Bull Terrier-Dalmatian mix that had only been in rescue a short time. Sadly, Ty found himself homeless after his family had to surrender him due to a drastic change in their circumstances. No one wants to give up their pet, but for one who’s been the family dog that long, it’s got to be devastating for everyone concerned. Animals get confused and feel the pain of separation and loss just as keenly as we do.

old dog napping

New Lease on Life

But this isn’t a sad story. This is one about new beginnings, making best friends, and unconditional love. It started with
Dogs Trust Bridgend, the U.K.’s largest Dog Welfare Charity. Ty had been in their capable care enjoying the simple things in life, like resting and listening to classical music, when a local couple saw the profile of a “terrific older gentleman” online. The couple was Bruno de Brito and Lee Szopa, who happened to be living in nearby Penarth. A few days later, the two decided to visit the shelter to find out more about Ty and the possibility of adopting him.

Welcome to the Family

Bruno and Lee already have two other dogs. One is a 6-year-old Chihuahua mix named Gizmo. The other is a 15-year-old Staffie named Fizz they adopted 10 years ago. “Lee has been concerned that Fizz is getting on in years, and one day his mum sent us the information on Ty from Dogs Trust’s website to reassure him that Fizz could have many, many more years to enjoy life,” Bruno told The Mirror. “That had unintended consequences! As soon as we read about Ty, we knew we wanted to go and see him.”

senior dog

Britain’s Oldest Ever Rescue Dog

If you’re a dog owner considering adoption, most rescues and shelters will insist an introduction be made between the animals before proceeding. This cuts down on returns and the possibility of injuries or vet bills if the animals get fussy with one another after getting home. Once Ty met Gizmo and Fizz, however, they got along famously. “It was love at first sight for all of us!” said Bruno. “Ty and Fizz are now inseparable, even sleeping by each other’s side. We all go out on walks together, and Ty is like a puppy! We didn’t expect him to be as lively as he is, but he is full of life, and it’s fantastic. He makes us laugh, and we are so glad we could give him a home. He’s brilliant.”

Dogs Trust Bridgend

“It is always fantastic when our dogs find their perfect family, but when it’s an older dog, it’s very special,” admitted Melissa Cook, the assistant manager at Dogs Trust Bridgend. “Given Ty’s age, how we felt to see him head off with Bruno and Lee and his new doggie family is beyond words. Ty is a gorgeous dog, full of fun and full of love, and we are so pleased he is back at the heart of a family who adores him.” Now that’s a happy ending!

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