Dan Pope walks Mr. Jingles as Laura Berlincourt handles Ellie Mae near their home on Bayshore Road in Oregon. The couple said both dogs have adapted well, and Mr. Jingles' spirits have perked up.
THE BLADE/ANDY MORRISON
Mr. Jingles seemed out of sorts.
The 10-year-old Lab and pit mix lost his appetite, whined, and moped around after his longtime companion Daisy, a 14-year-old shepherd and husky mix, died last week.
“Mr. Jingles got depressed. He quit eating,” said Laura Berlincourt. “We decided that he needed a companion.”
She and her fiance, Dan Pope, brought Mr. Jingles with them to the Lucas County Dog Warden’s Office last week to find a new friend, but the dog the Oregon couple came home with ended up being an older pal.
They adopted Ellie Mae, an 8-year-old redbone coonhound who arrived Aug. 29 at the county facility. Her disposition — “adorable and sweet,” according to Ms. Berlincourt — matched well with Mr. Jingles’ “alpha male” personality.
He didn’t hit it off with higher-strung dogs. But he got along well when paired with Ellie Mae, said Lucas County Dog Warden Julie Lyle.
She said Ellie Mae’s adoption took “longer than we would like them to wait, [but] it’s not unusual.”
Since she was a stray, she was held for three business days and then went through behavior and medical evaluations before going up for adoption, Ms. Lyle said.
After trying to find an individual or group to help Ellie Mae, Ms. Lyle sent her for surgery on an eyelid growth and to have dental work performed. About a month later, the dog found a new home with Ms. Berlincourt and Mr. Pope.
Ms. Lyle said her office does “pretty well” at finding homes for older dogs. On Thursday, five of the 72 dogs up for adoption there were age seven or older, ages she uses loosely to define a “senior” dog.
How an older dog adapts to a new home varies by each animal and circumstance, just as it does for every other dog, she said.
Some older dogs may do fine in a house with children, for example, while others may have a hard time adjusting because they’ve lived somewhere else for so long and seem set in their ways.
Some older dogs may appear scared or timid when meeting prospective owners by hiding in the back of the kennel.
Ms. Lyle couldn’t provide the length of an average stay before adoption, but said the pound has had some dogs who have stayed five to six months.
Besides the medical care she required, a few other factors may have slowed Ellie Mae’s adoption. For starters, at 65 pounds, she’s a larger dog.
“Some people don’t choose hounds for pets. They tend to make a lot of noise and when they bark — it’s not just ‘woof,’ ” Ms. Lyle said.
For Ellie Mae, the timing — despite her years — was right. She’s now part of a big animal family. Ms. Berlincourt and Mr. Pope said they frequently dog-sit for others and have a 12-year-old miniature pinscher named Angus and a couple cats.
“At least the last few years she’s got are going to be good rather than her being stuck in a kennel by herself. Now, she’s got a big yard to run in and somebody to play with,” Ms. Berlincourt said.