Elaine Seamans volunteers at the Baldwin Park Shelter in Los Angeles and runs the At-Choo Foundation – an organization dedicated to covering the medical expense costs of shelter dogs. When Seamans learned about Jelly, a 14-year-old Chihuahua mix, she fell in love.
“She affected my heart,” Seamans told The Dodo. “I decided to go meet her.”
Jelly’s owner had given her to the Baldwin Park Shelter for unknown reasons. Just as any dog would struggle to go from a life at home to life at a shelter, Jelly had a hard time. Unfortunately, Jelly had a greater challenge than other dogs. She is elderly, blind, partially deaf, and struggles with numerous other medical conditions.
Because of the traumatic experience of being away from home, Seamans was unsure how friendly Jelly would be. To her surprise, Jelly was full of love! Seamans was covered in kisses the minute they met.
“I wasn’t prepared for how incredibly trusting and sweet she was,” she said. “She never flinched or shied away from my hand as I started to pet her head. When I picked her up, she leaned into my chest and kept herself there no matter which position I was in. She needed love, and to hear and feel a heartbeat of someone holding her.”
Seamans was not in a position to adopt Jelly, but she wanted to ensure Jelly had a loving home. She posted photos of Jelly on social media, which eventually brought Jelly to Carlynne McDonnell – the founder and CEO of Barkee Laroux’s House of Love Animal Sanctuary.
“I saw [Jelly] on a networking post on Facebook,” McDonnell told The Dodo. “I thought, ‘Oh my god. She’s so pitiful — we can’t leave her there.’”
McDonnell was concerned about the cost of Jelly’s medical needs because of her skin condition, dental issues, heart murmur, cataracts, and ear inflammation. As well, Jelly is developing kidney disease.
The At-Choo Foundation stepped in and made McDonnell’s concerns vanish. They offered to cover Jelly’s medical bills as long as McDonnell could bring Jelly home.
“I said, ‘That’s the most amazing gift ever,’” McDonnell said. “Otherwise, we wouldn’t have been able to afford to rescue her.”
McDonnell drove two hours to pick up Jelly. While she originally intended only to foster, the love she felt for Jelly was too much! She had to adopt Jelly.
“They brought her to me,” McDonnell said. “She was in a little blanket, and I put my little arms around her, and it was just the most amazing feeling, knowing that we were going to bring this beloved dog home, and give her love and care and food and a safe place.”
“I knew the moment I touched her,” McDonnell said. “There was no doubt in my mind that she was never going to leave my house. She was going to stay with me in my house and be cared for here.”
Jelly is already feeling right at home already!
“When a blind and deaf dog starts to explore her surroundings a little, it shows that she’s starting to become a little bit more comfortable with what’s happening,” McDonnell said. “And that is the greatest reward for anything in the world.”