In a Perfect Senior Match, A 100-Year-Old Woman Adopts An 11-Year-Old Dog
Johanna Carrington never got the chance to own a dog while growing up in a war-torn orphanage in Germany.
Since then, she has been making up for the lost time.
The 100-year-old Californian always adored dogs as pets, including a charming but busy period when she and her late husband had eight Pekingese. She recently adopted Gucci, an 11-year-old Chihuahua mix.
“I just love him,” Carrington said.
After Carrington’s previous dog, Rocky passed away, her home felt eerily silent. They were concerned that a shelter might not allow a woman of her senior age to adopt a pet when she mentioned it to her daughter Debbie Carrington.
Thankfully, one of their Moss Beach neighbors works as a volunteer for Muttville Senior Dog Rescue in San Francisco and felt the group might be able to assist. It turned out that Gucci, then known as Gnocchi, had just been saved from a hoarding situation involving 22 dogs. The little puppy seems prepared to live alone in a home where he could receive a lot of love and care.
Eddie Martinez, Johanna Carrington’s carer, promised to walk Gucci every day and assist with his care as a condition of the adoption. Gucci’s foster mom drove the little dog to meet Carrington on September 2, and the latter made himself at home right away.
“He came to the house like he’d been here before. It was remarkable,” Carrington said. “He saw me sitting on my chair, jumped up on me, and sat on my lap. He made himself very, very comfortable. He was just our baby right away.”
She has given her new friend “oodles and oodles” of toys that he enjoys fetching, and she also massages his back as they both watch TV. Gucci enjoys creating a warm nest in their bed’s covers at night.
Carrington hopes to have a good time with Gucci this December as she turns 101. She “absolutely” believes that spending time with dogs is one of the secrets to a long, happy life, even if she attributes her longevity to a healthy lifestyle (she has never had a cigarette or even a sip of alcohol).
“Animals bring so much happiness to our home,” she said. “It’s unbelievable.”
Gucci was not a problem because he was well-behaved and still energetic enough to use the stairs in Carrington’s home. He appeared to be the kind of dog who would enjoy living alone in a house.
“He’s a very soulful little guy,” Ensor said. “It really is a matchmaking process.”
Using technology to navigate the adoption process is one way that family, friends, neighbors, and caretakers can assist seniors who want to adopt dogs, according to Ensor. Many animal rescue organizations have used social media, especially during the pandemic, to connect adoptable pets with people. These connections have included virtual meet-and-greets and home inspections via FaceTime or Zoom.