She faced profound grief when her beloved dog passed away until she adopted a rescued 11-year-old senior dog from a shelter.
Johanna Carrington has had many pets over the years but the death of her dog Rocky in 2022 was a particularly painful experience. She was 100 years old when her beloved pooch passed away. She told Washington Post, “I missed him so much, especially because he liked to sit on my lap. The house seemed really empty after Rocky was gone, and I was quite sad." Carrington’s daughter, Debbie Carrington, saw that her mom was not doing well after Rocky's death so she wanted to adopt another furry friend for her mother. “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.
Debbie learned about Muttville Senior Dog Rescue through her friend, Christine Falletti. Muttville is a remarkable nonprofit organization based in San Francisco that specializes in rescuing senior shelter dogs and carefully pairing them with loving new owners. “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 a span of eight months, Debbie's mother is thriving, serving as a testament to the positive impact that pets can have on our mental well-being. “She’s a lot happier and she and Gucci have become best friends,” Debbie shared. “Gucci is very gentle with her and follows her everywhere. He waits for her in the bathroom when she gets ready for bed at night, then follows her to bed and snuggles in. Everyone can see there’s an incredible bond there."
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
Carrington is extremely happy to have Gucci in her life. She said, “When they first brought him over, he ran straight up the stairs and found me like he’d been here before. When I asked him his name, he licked my face to tell me, ‘I love you already.’” She added, "Having him here with me is like a dream." Carrington's early years were marked by her birth in Germany and her stay at an orphanage during the tumultuous period of World War II. Despite her longing for a canine companion, circumstances prevented her from fulfilling this wish. In 1950, Johanna's life took a significant turn when she married Herbert Carrington, an American soldier stationed in Germany. From that point forward, she eagerly embraced every chance to bring dogs into her life.
"My favorite dogs were Pekingese — I once had eight at one time,” she said. “Dogs have always brought such joy that I never wanted to be without one." Furthermore, a study conducted by Frontiers in Public Health supports the notion that seniors with pets experienced reduced feelings of loneliness during the challenging period of the COVID-19 pandemic and enjoyed improved social connectedness. Sherri Franklin, the visionary behind Muttville Senior Dog Rescue, emphasized the significance of this bond, stating, "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.”