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ADOPTING SENIORS: Giving Lela a Chance

Lela spent most of her life with other dog friends at SARA Sanctuary in Texas. Recently, some senior dogs have benefitted from working from home arrangements by becoming a second companion dog. Lela is one of those very chill seniors.

Lela was part of a dog swap partnership with Chicago rescue organizations and SARA. After a few months in foster care at ALIVE Rescue, Lela was adopted by Laura and Ben in Chicago. In her own words and photos, Laura explains the charm and perks of senior dogs and why we should all be snatching them up. 


“I follow many shelters in Chicago on social media, and my newsfeeds are filled with dogs waiting for their forever homes. I found ALIVE Rescue one day, and admired their commitment to taking in animals from shelters with high euthanasia rates, as well as animals that other adoption organizations may overlook like seniors, unpopular breeds, pets with special needs, etc. I’m a real sucker for all animals, especially dogs, and found this to be incredibly admirable.”


Lela popped up on my Facebook feed three times before we finally applied to adopt her. The first time, back in November 2020, was when she had just moved to Chicago with ALIVE Rescue. I immediately showed the post to my fiance, Ben, and our hearts shattered reading that she had spent nearly her entire life at the sanctuary.”

“While we are always thankful to establishments like SARA Sanctuary that give animals a place to live out their lives in peace and comfort, I couldn’t help but wonder why Lela has never been adopted. She looked so sweet – and I couldn’t get her out of my head, but we weren’t ready for another dog.”

“But then… ALIVE posted her a couple more times on Facebook, and after the third time, we finally decided we needed her as part of our family.”


“Lela is a total goofball. She’s always climbing on top of boxes as if she’s making a proclamation. She also gets excessively excited when it’s time to go for a walk – stampeding down the hallway, flailing around as if she’s whipping herself through the air. It’s like zoomies on steroids.”


“Lela is the perfect dog for us. Frankly, we think one of the best things about her is her relationship with Khalie. Khalie had been an only child for her entire life (13 years), so we were a bit worried about how she would react to her new sister.”

“Lela’s calm, relaxed demeaner has made it so easy for Khalie to accept – and even adore – her new sister. The two love to snooze together, sniff the same sniffs. And by that I mean, if Lela sees Khalie sniffing something good, Lela will barge over to see what the big deal is.”

“Khalie has even recently began to nudge, tease, and paw at Lela to get her to play! For Khalie, that’s a big deal, but it’s all the evidence we need to show how much they really love each other.”


Lela is 11 years old with a whole lot of spunk. With another 13 year old dog already in the house, we knew that if we were to welcome another dog to our home, it would have to match the energy of our first one.”

“What we love about Lela, and what is so amazing about adopting any senior dog, is that they’re typically much more relaxed and have outgrown that crazy puppy energy. While it can be fun and rewarding to watch a puppy grow up, that also comes with a lot of work, time, and effort.”

“Lela has adjusted so well, and so quickly, to our home and lifestyle. She’s behaved, potty trained, and takes basic commands. She doesn’t mind snoozing during the day while we work. And, above all else, knowing that we saved a life that so many other people would overlook is powerful beyond words.”


I want to emphasize how thankful we are to not only ALIVE for trusting us with Lela’s life, but to SARA for giving her a chance, and also to Katherine and Mark, Lela’s foster parents prior to the adoption. Katherine and Mark fostered Lela for six amazing months, and were unbelievably helpful in getting her acclimated to our home.”

“Lela still sleeps with the blanket from Katherine and Mark, and plays with her favorite stuffed alligator they gave her. What’s more, we’ve grown to develop a wonderful friendship with the two of them, attesting to the fact that dogs are truly magical creatures; they bring good people together.”


To help Texas-friendly dogs like Lela, SARA Sanctuary partners with several animal rescues in Chicago, Wisconsin, California, Florida and even internationally with Lebanon. Find out how our partnerships are getting Texas dogs adopted in other states: How dog swaps help animal rescues.


SENIOR DUKE: Trailer house to Penthouse

FOSTER FAIL: It’s Not Rocket Science

THE DIVINE MS. MIAMI: The Reason to Adopt Senior Dogs

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