In late September a pittie arrived at the Humane Rescue Alliance (HRA) in Washington, D.C., after her elderly owner passed away. What set Julep apart and made rescuers fear for her future was the fact that the doggie was 18 years old, in fact, the oldest pooch ever to enter the HRA shelter.

The staff was understandably concerned that no one would want to adopt such a senior dog. The thought that this doggie might be destined to live out her last days in the shelter, lost and confused because her previously happy life had slipped away, broke their hearts.


Had it not been for an amazing man Wayne Lerch, this story would have ended like that. Luckily, Lerch saw Julep's story on the HRA's social media and sprang into action. The very next morning, he came to the shelter right when it opened.

Lerch wasn't sure if he and Julep would be right for each other, so he took precautions not to make rash decisions. The man arrived at the HRA on his motorcycle, knowing it would prevent him from taking Julep home right away.

Lerch was still getting over the loss of his beloved 11-year-old pit bull, Jasmine, in June. They had a special bond and he wanted to make sure the same spark was there with his next dog. Lerch said that as soon as he met Julep, he "knew everything right away."


Lerch quickly drove home on his motorcycle and returned in his car. As the new best friends walked out of the shelter together, everyone in the room had tears in their eyes. Alex John Tolley, Humane Rescue Alliance spokeswoman, said:

"We see a lot of happy stories and try not to get too emotional. But the combination of her age and Wayne's obvious adoration for his new "old lady" made us cry."

After just a few days together, it's clear that Lerch and Julep, whom he renamed Tootie after his grandma, are perfect for each other. Miss Tootie has settled into her new home and Lerch finds that her presence helps him get over the loss of Jasmine.


He knows they probably don't have too much time together, but Lerch plans to make the most of every moment. For now, Tootie is healthy, happy, and full of love.


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