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Pet Adoption

PHOTO: 17-Year-Old Pup Surrendered to Shelter by Moving Family Adopted by Loving Dog Mom

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Kentucky Humane Society

Way past her prime and a tongue that permanently sticks out because of missing teeth — these are traits that could potentially scare some folks away from signing adoption papers at an animal shelter.

That wasn’t the case for Lou Ann Young, now the new owner of Duchess, a 17-year-old miniature dachshund who came to the Kentucky Humane Society from a rural Kentucky shelter after she was surrendered by her moving family.

“It’s hard to imagine why they didn’t choose to take a dog who had been a member of their family for almost two decades,” said a Facebook post introducing the unlucky pup to the shelter’s Facebook followers at large, in hopes that one of them might consider giving the sweet girl a forever home. “She may be up there in years, but this little dog has lots of love left to give, and we think she deserves a second chance.”

That second chance came on Sunday when Young saw the Facebook post and decided to adopt Duchess, described as quiet, easy-going, and friendly with other canines.

“This is the first time in my life that I actually adopted a pet from a shelter. All of my previous pets have found me by one means or another,” Young, who posed for the adorable adoption photo before bringing Duchess home, says in an email to PEOPLE. “I’ve always told people if I do adopt, it will be an older dog. Little did I think she would be 17 years old.”

Kentucky Humane Society

Young adopted her partly as a companion for her other dog Lacey, who lost two canine buddies in less than a year and had been suffering separation anxiety — and, already, this canine friendship appears to be a good one. “Duchess’ arrival at our house has helped Lacey as well,” she says. “When I come home in the afternoon, she is no longer panting and nervous.”

But, clearly, Duchess is the one who hit the jackpot here, thanks to an adopter who saw something that others may not have.

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“We are so thankful for people like Lou Ann who choose to adopt senior animals,” says Kentucky Humane Society director Robin Vincent. “So often, older pets have a hard time in shelters. Their hearts have been broken, and they don’t know why they were surrendered.”

Young’s bright smile says a lot and so does her view on Duchess’s new beginning. “When we adopt an older dog, we are making the statement that life matters at all ages,” she says.

To see more animals available at the Kentucky Humane Society, click here.