One senior dog languished in an animal shelter, with potential families passing him over because of his old age.
The elderly pooch could have lived out the remainder of his days alone in his kennel, but one sympathetic family not only gave him a home, but also a new lease on life.
Bear, an abandoned German Shepherd mix, was fortunately spared euthanasia when he was taken into a no-kill animal shelter in Houston, Texas. Despite having a sanctuary from the streets, his condition remained depressing as he suffered from the skin-disease dermatitis and was continually snubbed by adoptees, according to Shareably.
The unfortunate dog, 16-years-old and looking it, had ragged fur and a lonely disposition as he resided in his kennel, tended to but not given a loving environment.
In a stroke of good fortune, one family disregarded Bear's advanced age and pitiful condition, adopting the senior German Shepherd and providing him with a proper home.
The canine had a twinkle in his eye when his new family drove him home from the shelter.
While the kennel was sure to feed him, Bear was clearly elated when he was given a drum of food just for him.
Given a real bed, attention and affection, Bear's coat began to take on a renewed sheen, the mangled patches giving way to a healthier fullness.
Taking on weight and clearly invigorated by the love and care he was receiving, the elderly pooch began to look like a younger, happier dog.
Under his new owner's care, Bear has physically transformed into a beaming pooch with a full mane of fur and a new name: Norman.
The elderly canine's savior, a mother who fosters dogs, has not disclosed her name, but has recounted her journey with her beloved new companion.
"My weakness is the senior dogs ... they give me a new appreciation and meaning in life," Norman's new mo told Dog Heirs.
"Norman has taught me a lot..." she added. "...I hope everyone can experience a senior dog's love. I love my Norman/Bear."
While senior dogs may be an unattractive proposition for pet owners due to their limited time left, they can be richly rewarding companions.
In 2015, the Maryland-based Grey Muzzle Organization, which is dedicated to helping elderly dogs find a home to live out the remainder of their days, awarded $225,000 in grants to nearly 40 senior dog programs across the country. The grants help programs cover the medical costs of senior dogs and even help arrange hospice adoptions, The Washington Post reports.
The organization's executive director, Lisa Lunghofer, asserts that just providing elderly dogs with a loving environment helps them "regain their vitality and reward their families with years of unconditional love and devotion."
Norman's story is a testament to that.