I found Toby at a local animal shelter. He was lying in a cage with another dog. His back was to me, and he appeared to be sleeping. I inquired about him at the front desk. They told me he had been brought in as a stray. Through his microchip, they located his owners. They were an older couple and could not take care of him anymore. For some reason he was out wandering around on his own. Luckily for him, he was brought in where he could be safe. They told me he was 12 years old, and he had a bad heart condition. His hair was terribly overgrown, dirty and matted. In his paw areas, there were tiny wires embedded. His nails were curled under and digging into the pads of his paws.

I decided that this was the kind of dog I was looking for. I wanted to help a dog that was not only in need, but would also have a harder time getting adopted.

Older dogs, especially those with health problems have a harder time being adopted. Most people want either puppies or younger age dogs.

I brought Toby home on October 29, 2011.

I quickly set about grooming him. I was used to doing my own grooming. I always groomed our other dog that we already owned. It was almost a case of where to start first. I had to cut through thick mats all throughout his body. It took some time, but I finally got through all of the mats. I shaved him down to where he finally looked normal again. He was given a bath, where quite a bit of dirt came off. I decided to leave the nail trimming to a vet.

He was like a whole new dog. I knew he had to feel so much better. He could actually see without hair and mats in front of his eyes. After he went to the vet, he could now walk without his nails digging into his mats. Besides his bad heart and some arthritis, he was in reasonably good shape.

Toby ended up being a wonderful dog. He was loved and pampered. We loved his little quirks and personality. I wish he could have been with us longer, but eventually his kidneys failed. He passed away in my arms at home. I am so glad he was ours, even if it was only for a short time. We now have those memories to remember and enjoy. If we had never adopted him, we would not have had those memories to treasure. Even though it hurt to lose Toby, I would not have traded the joy and privilege of having known him.

— Karen from Bountiful, UT