After experiencing the painful loss of her dog Rocky in 2022, Johanna Carrington, who was 100 years old at the time, felt a profound emptiness in her home. Johanna expressed her deep longing for her furry companion, particularly for the moments when Rocky would sit on her lap. Concerned about her mother’s well-being, Johanna’s daughter, Debbie Carrington, embarked on a mission to find a new four-legged friend for her.
“My mom was 100 at the time, and we weren’t sure whether it would even be possible for her to have a dog at her age. I honestly wondered if anyone would allow it,” she said.
Through her friend Christine Falletti, Debbie discovered Muttville Senior Dog Rescue, an extraordinary nonprofit organization located in San Francisco. Muttville specializes in the rescue of senior shelter dogs and is renowned for their meticulous matching process that connects these furry companions with devoted new owners. Realizing that her mother would have a strong support system in place, Debbie discovered that Johanna could indeed adopt another dog.
“As long as my mom had a strong support team — and she does — we learned that she could adopt another dog,” she explained. “My mom had rescued dogs her whole life, and we knew it would make a huge difference for her to have another one, even at 100.”
Gucci, an 11-year-old Chihuahua mixed breed, was rescued from an animal hoarding situation and found a loving home with Carrington in September 2022. Since then, Debbie has observed a remarkable improvement in her mother’s mental health.
After eight months, Johanna’s flourishing well-being is a testament to the profound positive effects that pets can have on our mental state. Debbie joyfully shared that her mother and Gucci have formed an inseparable bond.
Gucci is exceptionally gentle with Johanna and follows her wherever she goes, even waiting for her in the bathroom at bedtime before snuggling up with her for the night. Everyone can see the remarkable and heartwarming connection between Johanna and her beloved Gucci.
100-year-old Johanna Carrington missed having a dog in her home, but worried that a shelter may not allow her to adopt a pet at her age. Fortunately, a senior dog rescue found the perfect match for Johanna with an 11-year-old rescued Chihuahua named Gucci.https://t.co/tU18DebnaI— Home Instead Charities Canada (@HICharitiesCA) October 16, 2022
Gucci has brought immeasurable joy into Carrington’s life, and she couldn’t be happier. “When they first brought him over, he ran straight up the stairs and found me like he’d been here before.” Carrington shared. “When I asked him his name, he licked my face to tell me, ‘I love you already.'”
Having Gucci by her side feels like a dream come true for Carrington, who longed for a canine companion during her earlier years. Unfortunately, circumstances prevented her from fulfilling this wish, including her time in a German orphanage during World War II.
In 1950, Johanna married Herbert Carrington, an American soldier stationed in Germany, and since then, she has eagerly embraced every opportunity to bring dogs into her life.
Reflecting on her past, Carrington shared, “My favorite dogs were Pekingese — I once had eight at one time. Dogs have always brought such joy that I never wanted to be without one.”
This sentiment is supported by a study conducted by Frontiers in Public Health, which found that seniors with pets experienced decreased feelings of loneliness and enhanced social connectedness, particularly during the challenging period of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sherri Franklin, the visionary founder of Muttville Senior Dog Rescue, emphasized the profound significance of the bond between seniors and their furry companions.
Franklin stated, “There is nothing like having the consistent and nonjudgmental love of a dog. Pets give our senior population a reason to want to stick around, stay healthy, and get up in the morning.”