'I have a feeling she's going to be around for quite a bit,' Netty's new owner said.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on September 2, 2022. It has since been updated.
When Netty arrived at a Philadelphia shelter in 2010, she was only there for three days before she was adopted. However, the mixed pit bull was dropped back at the same shelter by her family of over a decade with the request that the 15-year-old canine be put down. "She was returned with a requested euthanasia," Maddie Bernstein, manager of lifesaving at the Pennsylvania SPCA, told The Washington Post. "She was old and having some incontinence difficulties in the house." According to Bernstein, Netty's previous owners "weren't interested in talking about other options for her, like medications."
However, when the shelter's veterinary team evaluated Netty, they found that she still had a lot of life left to live. "They felt like she still had a quality of life," Bernstein said. "They started her on meds, and she did really well. She was starting to improve." And so, the shelter started the search for someone who would adopt Netty in all her senior dog glory and give her a home to live out the rest of her days. They knew it would be a challenge, Bernstein admitted, as older dogs "normally don't get a lot of traction for adoption." Determined to find her a home, the Pennsylvania SPCA turned to social media where they have previously had success with placing seniors.
"We hate to break your hearts, again, but here we are," the team wrote in a Facebook post. "This old gal is sitting in a shelter in what could be her final days. We don't want that for her. So, we are looking for a home where she can spend whatever time she has left. Netty is VERY low maintenance and could live with dogs, cats and respectful kids. Can you please help us spread the word about this beautiful soul to get her out of the shelter and into a warm, cozy bed?" Before long, the post was flooded with comments and shared thousands of times.
The public plea caught the eye of Amy Kidd, a veterinarian in West Chester, Pennsylvania, whose family had lost their 12-year-old rescue dog, Monty, to cancer just a month before. They were on the lookout for a new senior pet to welcome into their home and Netty ticked all the boxes. "As soon as I saw her face, I was like okay, she's the one that needs to come to my house," said Kidd, who has six senior dogs between the ages of 12 and 16. For almost a decade now, the 48-year-old and her husband have been housing senior dogs. Although many of the canines they took in were considered "hospice dogs" with a life expectancy of only a month or two, several of them ended up living three or four years longer. "When they get to our house, it's kind of a fountain of youth," Kidd said.
"We try to do what's best for them, as long as we possibly can," she explained. "Our plan is to only take senior pets into our family, or animals that have problems, need medication and extra care." While Kidd—who owns Popcopson Veterinary Station in West Chester—was at work on August 9, her daughter and two sons drove about 40 miles from their home in Kennett Square to Philadelphia to pick up Netty. They also brought two of their senior dogs with them to make sure the pack would get along. "It was time to meet her, and I saw her walk down the hallway," said Emilea Suplick, Kidd's daughter, who works as a veterinary technician at her mother's clinic. "She sniffed me and gave me a little bit of a tail wag."
According to the shelter staff, Netty seldom wagged her tail, "and that just sealed the deal," the 20-year-old added. The senior canine was very well-behaved during the hour-long journey to her new home and "just settled in right away," upon arrival, Suplick revealed. "She knew she was home." The family quickly got Netty's incontinence under control with medication and the arthritis in her lower spine and elbows has also been improving steadily. "She's kind of a stubborn girl, and it's pretty funny because she's supposed to be this old lady that can't walk," Kidd shared. "She is officially the queen bee of the house. She made her way all the way up the stairs by herself, no problem. She does that on a daily basis... I have a feeling she's going to be around for quite a bit."
"She has so much to offer, and we are so lucky to have her," Suplick, a junior at the University of Pittsburgh, said of Netty. "I hope that other people are inspired by her story and give adult dogs a chance."