Life on the streets had taken a toll on a dog named Solo. The poor thing was mangy, hungry and void of human affection and love.
Many pets abandoned by their owners or who are runaways become timid strays left to fend for themselves in the outdoors. They are at risk of being hit by a car, being attacked or being picked up by the pound.
Solo fought to stay alive every day in the street alleys of Los Angeles. But as he approached the age of 11, he began slowing down and life became even riskier.
Finally, Solo just gave up. He wandered onto someone’s front porch and collapsed there.
As fate would have it, Solo crashed at the home of a woman who quickly became quite worried about the poor ailing dog who chose her home to pass out at. She contacted Rocket Dog Rescue, which flew a volunteer to Los Angeles to try and save him.
Solo received medical care when he arrived at the rescue, then sadly hopped around from foster home to foster home. He was adopted out a few times, but his new parents heartbreakingly returned him every single time.
No one with the rescue could understand why this sweet senior-aged dog couldn’t find his forever home. Carol Messina happened to see Solo’s photo online and instantly felt drawn to him, she told The Dodo.
“As soon as I saw his face on their site, I wanted to love him.”
Carol called the rescue and learned a bit more about Solo. The woman who found him on her porch gave him the name Solovino, which is Spanish for “he came alone.”
It also is the name of a Star Wars character and Carol is a huge Star Wars fan. She even has a cat sporting the name Star Wars.
“I immediately thought, ‘Well, his name is Solo!’ Come to find out, that’s what his foster dad had been calling him! I knew it was fate. Then when I met him and saw how sad he was, I knew he was going to stay with me forever no matter what.”
Carol slowly acclimated Solo into her home, but he was quite terrified and very shy. Understandably, he was very leery of people after more than a decade of living on the streets.
“When he first came to live with me, he kept his tail between his legs for months. He was very non-reactive to dogs and people and cats, and flinched any time anyone tried to pet him.”
It didn’t take long for Carol to realize why Solo had been rejected by so many adoptive owners. He was virtually deaf!
Solo also had terrible teeth that left him in constant pain. As soon as his teeth were fixed, Solo became a completely different pooch and was excited about living life again.
“The people who live around us are always commenting on how he doesn’t even seem like the same dog anymore. He didn’t smile or barely open his mouth even to pant for months, and now he smiles and rolls around and will run full-tilt across the lawn a dozen times a day.”
To help curb Solo’s anxiety stemming from his deafness, Carol equipped her new pup with a harness that announces his deafness so that people do not pet him without asking first. She also flicks the lights on and off when she enters a room so she doesn’t spook him.
But Carol isn’t stopping there. She’s going to move into a new home without stairs, so Solo can navigate the rest of his life with ease.
After her experience falling in love with Solo, Carol has decided to adopt more senior dogs in the future. She credits Solo with inspiring her to offer hospice care to older dogs and help make a difference in their lives.
What a beautiful story about a forlorn and hopeless dog finally having a future with someone who loves him. Bless Carol and her big heart!