“Adopting an older dog can be an amazingly fulfilling experience” ~ Oahu SPCA.
When a beautiful dog named Pirate arrived at the Oahu SPCA, in Wahiawa, Hawaii, many years ago, no one thought she would stay there for almost a decade.
Weeks, months, and years passed, but Pirate remained living in her little kennel at the shelter. The only thing that changed was her face, which slowly turned white with age.
Seven years had passed and there was no one who even asked to meet her – until one day.
Meet The Sweet Pirate Marie
“Pirate’s biggest obstacle was the fact that she was an older dog. People don’t want to adopt the older dogs because they think it’s going to be more work,” Amanda Villeme, Executive Director at Oahu SPCA, told The Dodo.
Although the shelter never gave up on her, after so many years without a family, Pirate slowly started losing hope.
You could just see in her little face that she was sad and depressed. She was getting tired of life.
Little did she know that her life was about to drastically change, all thanks to one woman.
Jennifer Shaffer and her husband, Dennis, moved to Hawaii because of work. They are dual military, and Jennifer just happened to get stationed in Hawaii.
Both of them agreed that they weren’t going to adopt a dog any time soon, so Jennifer started looking up different shelters where she could at least volunteer because she is a huge animal lover.
That was when she came across a picture of Pirate.
“I saw this one [dog] that was really old. Her face was all gray. She had the cutest ears, they just stuck straight out. She just started winning my heart over,” Jennifer said.
The very next day, Jennifer went to meet Pirate.
The shelter was completely in shock that after so many years, someone was actually there to see this old girl. “Our Pirate?” they asked.
“They were, like, in complete disbelief that anyone was there to ask about Pirate ‘cause I guess no one [had],” Jennifer said.
Their shock and disbelief tells you just how much this poor girl was overlooked over the years.
The Start Of A Wonderful Life
Jennifer’s heart completely broke at the thought of Pirate spending all those years alone and sad in the shelter. At the time, Pirate was 11 and a half years old.
She knew immediately that she would do anything to make her happy.
That first night she met her, Jennifer went and bought Pirate her first toy and a soft bed. From that moment on, their beautiful friendship started.
“She’s the dog that nobody wanted, and she won me over immediately.”
Unfortunately, since Jennifer had just moved to the island, she didn’t have a house yet, so she couldn’t take Pirate home just yet.
For the next two months, Jennifer came to the shelter every single day to visit Pirate. She was there before work and after work. Not a single day was missed.
After two months, they were finally able to bring Pirate home, and everyone was over the moon that this was finally happening.
Pirate finally had a chance to spend her last years with a loving family… her family!
A dog who was once so sad and depressed quickly transformed into this sweet and playful dog… puppylike, almost.
She acted more and more like a puppy every single day. “Old lady baby” was her new nickname at the house.
Since arriving at her new home, Pirate had so many firsts.
At 11 years old, she got to lay on the couch for the first time, visit the beach, experience her first zoomies, and celebrate birthdays, Christmases, and many more.
Pirate, The Guardian Angel
“It was the most rewarding and fulfilling thing knowing that we changed her life. What she needed, and I think what she wanted was a family. Watching her life being changed is what changed our lives,” Jennifer said.
For the next two years, Pirate lived the best life ever.
She was her Mommy’s puppy soulmate and her Daddy loved her so much.
It brings me so much happiness to know that she left the world having experienced love and being loved unconditionally.
Pirate Marie died a day before her pawrents got married, but her Mommy had the perfect guardian angel walking down the aisle with her.
Her Mom still keeps her memory alive on her Instagram: @pirate_marie. If you really want to know what true love feels like, I highly recommend checking her account.
“She was the best girl… she was truly my soul girl,” said Jennifer.