‘They deserve love!’ Last-chance pets – and the people who rescue them

Shelters are full of old, unwanted animals no one wants. Or almost no one … Here are the heroes giving cats and dogs their final homes

In a car on the way back from an animal shelter, with a 12-year-old chihuahua on his lap, Steve Greig felt peace. For months, since the death of his dog, Wolfgang, he had been inconsolable. “I couldn’t make sense of it,” he says. Wolfgang had been hit by a car. Greig had the idea that he could adopt a dog that nobody else wanted, to give an animal a last chance of a loving home. The chihuahua, whom he named Eeyore, was the oldest dog in the shelter and had a heart murmur and four bad knees. Eeyore spent that car journey looking out of the window, tail wagging. “It was not a no-kill shelter, so his future didn’t look that good, but he had a new lease on life,” says Greig. “I’ll never forget it. It felt like Wolfgang had a hand in letting this dog live and it was exactly what I needed.”

It was so rewarding that he soon adopted another old dog – “and one turned into another”. He now has 11. Every so often, a shelter calls him with news of a dog that might be put down and he can’t resist. “The problem with seniors in shelters is they’re the last that are looked at. If you have a senior with health problems, they’re the last of the last.” Greig lives in Colorado, but most of his dogs have been rescued from other states – from “high-kill shelters” where dogs who are elderly, disabled or can’t find homes are euthanised.

Steve Greig’s dogs in all their glory.

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