At the age of 18, at the end of February, Julep the dog found herself in an animal shelter instead of at home.
Julep's person — who'd loved her very much, for a very long time — had just died. Family was unable to take care of the white-faced dog.
Julep was one of the oldest, "if not the oldest," dog who'd ever come through, Alix John Tolley, spokesperson for Washington, D.C.'s Humane Rescue Alliance, said in an email. "She’s lived a long and happy life."
The message reached Wayne Lerch, who was heartbroken because his beloved 11-year-old pit bull, Jasmine, had died suddenly in December.
Lerch was deeply moved by Julep's story. So much so, that on Tuesday — the day after he spotted her online — Lerch showed up at the Humane Rescue Alliance's adoption center before it even opened.
He came on his motorcycle, just so he wouldn't feel pressured to adopt Julep on the spot — there'd be no way of getting her home on the bike.
But as soon the shelter doors opened, and Lerch met Julep, he said, "I knew right away."
He went home to get his car. Then he and Julep left the shelter, together — just about a month, since she'd arrived.
"There wasn’t a dry eye in the room," said Tolley. "We see a lot of happy endings and try not to get too emotional. But the combination of her age and Wayne’s obvious adoration for his new 'old lady' left us in tears."
"I couldn't let her spend one more night in the shelter," he said. "She's saving me as much as I'm helping her."