Elaine Seamans was in a rush to get to a Los Angeles animal shelter earlier this year. She’d recently heard about a very elderly dog that was surrendered there, and she wanted to check to see if she might be able to help him.
Seamans is the founder of the At-Choo Foundation, an organization that strives to fulfill the medical, safety, and comfort needs of shelter dogs. Having worked with so many dogs in the past, Seamans hoped that she’d be able to find this pup a new home.
Seamans was determined to help this dog.
After arriving at the shelter, Seamans was introduced to Negra, the Pomeranian mix who was 20 years old, according to his rabies certificate. But when she approached him to say hello and give him a pat on the head, she was taken aback by how volatile he was.
“I put my hand down, like, ‘Hi you want to smell?’ And he snapped at my hand,” Seamans said to Mother Nature Network. “His little lips were quivering like, ‘I’m gonna get you.'”
Seamans was undeterred. In order to get the dog to trust her without risking a bite, she wrapped Negra in a blanket and picked him up—then started petting him through the blanket.
“Next thing you know I’m able to pet him without him trying to bite me,” Seamans continued.
From there she worked on making a genuine connection with him.
Finally Negra showed his desperate need for affection.
“He pushed up against my chest and moved up a little further to put his head on my shoulder,” Seamans says. “My eyes got a little teary.”
Seamans contacted pet sanctuary Love Always, which offered Negra a home at their facility. As a very old dog, he would be able to live out the rest of his days there.
But Negra was concealing a secret.
Seamans and others began to notice that Negra had a lot of energy for a 20-year-old dog. In addition to a lack of medical issues, he wasn’t acting like a dog his age usually does.
“This dog is really a mystery,” she says. “He’s either a freak of nature or he was totally mis-aged.”
After Negra moved in to the Love Always facility, Seamans continued to try to figure out why his physical abilities weren’t lining up with his age. Her search led to a surprising revelation that his original owner revealed to the shelter’s staff in a phone call.
Negra wasn’t 20. He was only 8.
Negra’s assumed stay at the Love Always facility was going to be a lot longer than intended! Rather than only sticking around for a short while as assumed, he’ll have plenty of time to spend frolicking and enjoying life with the other animals housed there with him.
After starting out so scared and volatile, Negra now has been able to slowly learn the meaning of true love. Surrounded by attention and care, it will surely be a welcome change of pace for him.