Meet Noah, Baby, Samantha, Rocky, and Oreo - they are the faces of America's deepening recession.
Furry faces, granted. But the dogs are victims of hard times in the Toledo area nonetheless, just as their former owners are.
And 12 of the 25 dogs the Toledo Area Humane Society had up for adoption Friday were 8 years or older, an unusually high number of elderly dogs at a given time, officials said.
"All of them are ringing an economic tune," Natasha Bailey, the group's operations director, said of the older bunch. "It's because of economic situations that all of [their former owners] are in."
Noah, an Australian cattle dog-Labrador retriever mix, was a sweet ol' boy when he was adopted a year ago by a woman. She returned him, reluctantly, after losing her house to foreclosure.
"He belongs in a home where he can give kisses and lay in your bed. He gets along with other dogs," Ms. Bailey said.
Unfortunately, Noah's plight is becoming more common: As people lose their jobs, they find themselves so overwhelmed by bills they lose their homes or simply struggle to afford the rising cost of pet food.
It tears them up, but they have little choice but to turn their beloved pet over to the Humane Society in hopes it can place it in another loving home, Ms. Bailey said.
Twelve is an unusual number of older dogs for the Toledo Area Humane Society to have at one time. But these are unusually hard times.
They're well-mannered, docile, house-broken dogs that still have a lot of love and compassion to offer. Depending where people are in their lives, they could be a better fit than puppies, Ms. Bailey said. "We will not euthanize them just because they're old," she said.
The society is encouraging owners of rental properties to loosen up their pet policies to accommodate people who turn to apartments after losing their homes, Ms. Bailey said. "It's truly an economic crisis because of what these families are in. What we want to try to do is encourage rental properties to let dogs live there," she said. "These people should not have to surrender their dogs."
Adoptions start at $50. The Humane Society, at 1920 Indian Wood Circle in Maumee's Arrowhead Park, is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.
The society urges all family members of would-be adopters to spend at least an hour looking at various dogs.
"The key is to spend the time here. We like to say the dog's going to choose you," Ms. Bailey said.