In July of 2020, a little dog was found wandering alone on the streets of Baltimore. She was moving very slow and appeared both confused and defeated. Good citizens picked her up and brought her down to our shelter for help. When she arrived, we noticed right away that Millie was having vision issues. Along with her inability to see, Millie’s fur was extremely matted, she had a severe ear infection, was suffering from painful dental disease and had a large mass. Our veterinarians estimated that she was around 10 years old. It was clear that whatever circumstances led up to Millie being found on the streets that day came only after not receiving the care she needed for a long time. Our veterinary team began treatment immediately. Understandably, Millie was scared at our shelter. Because of her blindness, the loud and bustling shelter environment, no matter how loving, was a scary place. We knew that we needed to find her a home quickly, but senior animals are among the hardest animals to adopt--especially those like Millie who also have special medical needs. Luckily, we knew just the person.
Alicia Shelton is no stranger to rescuing senior dogs. Over the years, Alicia has opened her home to several special needs--and even hospice--senior pets. Her home was currently empty after the recent loss of Mabel, another senior BARCS dog who she willingly adopted even with an aggressive cancer diagnosis. Even though her heart was grieving, Alicia wanted to open her home again. For Alicia, it’s not about replacing a dog after they pass, it’s about the opportunity to give her heart and home to another animal waiting in the shelter. We knew that she would be the perfect mom for Millie.
Alicia and Millie quickly became inseparable, and Millie’s transformation has been remarkable. Alicia has tailored her home to be a safe haven for Millie’s blindness and has enjoyed learning from her. In Alicia’s words, “Millie is incredibly smart...she’s been teaching and showing me how to care for her.” Millie’s favorite things to do are cuddle on her mom’s chest and play with dog treat puzzles.