The little guy, rescued from a hoarding home and missing all his teeth, was overlooked by people visiting the shelter and his spirit was slowly dying.
Meanwhile, a 101-year-old woman was mourning the loss of her beloved dog Rocky, and longed to fill the empty space on her lap where he always rested. And then, fate brought the two together, allowing them both to experience unconditional love in their golden years..
California’s Johanna Carrington was grieving the death of Rocky, her four-legged fur baby who died months before her 101st birthday.
There was little reason to celebrate, she missed Rocky, who left a huge void in her heart when he passed in 2022.
“I missed him so much, especially because he liked to sit on my lap. The house seemed really empty after Rocky was gone, and I was quite sad,” Carrington told the Washington Post. Carrington’s daughter Debbie said that her mom’s mood shifted significantly after Rocky’s death and wanted to lift her spirits with a new furry friend. But Debbie worried that due to Carrington’s advanced age, she wouldn’t have the mobility to care for the sweet creature, who might also outlive her.
“My mom was 100 at the time, and we weren’t sure whether it would even be possible for her to have a dog at her age. I honestly wondered if anyone would allow it,” she said of potentially being rejected by a rescue.
But then the mother and daughter found a special place, the Muttville Senior Dog Rescue, a place that allows aging dogs to live out their days with dignity and a lot of love.
Right before her big birthday, the centenarian filled out an adoption application for an elderly dog and eagerly waited to hear from the senior’s sanctuary.
The form was very thorough, and Carrington explained she had a strong support system, including Debbie and her own caregiver, to help care for new friend.
“As long as my mom had a strong support team – and she does – we learned that she could adopt another dog,” Debbie explained. “My mom had rescued dogs her whole life, and we knew it would make a huge difference for her to have another one, even at 100.”
The perfect pairing
Alice Ensor, an adoption counselor at Muttville, reviewed her application, first thinking it was pretty standard. Until she noticed that Carrington was 100 years old.
“When I first received Johanna’s adoption questionnaire, I was a bit surprised,” Ensor told The Dodo. “100 years old is definitely a milestone in and of itself. We don’t often have a centenarian looking to bring home a new mutt. I knew that Johanna had to be a very special dog lover to be looking for her new furry friend ahead of her 101st birthday.”
Staff at Muttville sprang into action, looking to match Carrington with the perfect new pup.
Gnocchi, who was rescued from a hoarding situation where there were 22 dogs, was a toothless chihuahua that no one wanted.
After spending months at the rescue, the sweet white dog was getting depressed and losing hope.
He only wanted to spend his final days on the lap of a loving human, and the adoption specialist believed that Carrington was his human.
Love at first sight
After Carrington watched Gnocchi in a virtual call, Ensor said “it was love at first sight.”
In September 2022, Gnocchi, now named Gucci, moved into his new home and immediately filled the empty space on her lap by jumping on it.
“I had never had that experience. He just jumped on my lap and started kissing me,” Carrington, now 102, shares. “It was unbelievable. I’m in a recliner because I have a hard time walking. He came up the stairway, jumped on me and started kissy kissy.”
When Gucci isn’t out walking with either Carrington’s caregiver or Debbie, he’s often on his mom’s lap, getting back massages.
And, as his new name suggests, he’s also a fashionista.
“He stays warm, I have a sweater for him. He stares at me for a long time, I think he’s grateful that I make him warm,” Carrington said of her swaggy best friend.
Meanwhile, her daughter shares that “Gucci brought joy into the house” that was sad and quiet. “Laughing about him running around and doing funny things, and then also him sleeping on her lap with her while she’s in her recliner or sleeping in her bed, it’s just making her very happy,” Debbie said, adding her mother is happy and healthy, which serves as proof the positive impact pets have on our overall well-being.
“She’s a lot happier and she and Gucci have become best friends,” said Debbie, who will adopt Gucci if he outlives her mom. “Gucci is very gentle with her and follows her everywhere. He waits for her in the bathroom when she gets ready for bed at night, then follows her to bed and snuggles in. Everyone can see there’s an incredible bond there.”
Carrington says, “He brings me so much joy! I love it when he sits on my lap and keeps me company. Having Gucci in my life has given me someone to love and care for, and that makes a big difference at my age.”
We are so happy that Gucci and Johanna Carrington found one another!