By Janet McAfee

Yankee and Doodle once enjoyed a good life with their human dad.  They were senior boys when suddenly their lives changed forever.

Doodle recalls, “Our dad didn’t seem sick, but one morning he did not get out of bed.  We waited for breakfast, but he never moved.  The days passed and we were hungry and thirsty.  We laid by his side on the bed.  One day two police officers burst through the door. More people arrived and took our dad away, and we frantically tried to follow to stay with him.  More men in uniform came, taking us away in a truck to a large building where there were many barking dogs. We were sad and afraid.”

“A nice woman from Loving All Animals came to rescue us, and we went to live at their shelter. Medical evaluations at their veterinarian showed I had muscle atrophy and lameness in a back leg requiring pain relieving medication.  I was determined to keep pace with my brother.  We returned for anesthetic dentals because our teeth were bad.  We were nine years old, and we became long term fixtures at the shelter.  For awhile we were in a great foster home.  People who came to the shelter only wanted a younger dog or they only wanted one of us. The shelter staff understood we were a ‘Band of Brothers’ who would never leave the other behind.”


One day Corrine Szarvas-Kidd came to Loving All Animals looking to adopt two older pups.  She often sought dogs who had the hardest time getting adopted.  Corrine faithfully visited the dogs at the shelter, learning more about their behavior and medical issues.  The dogs were thrilled to leave for their forever home but could not have anticipated the adventures ahead.

Yankee is now named Benny and Doodle is named Jet.  Corrine reports, “The dogs loved our trip last summer to Arizona and Colorado where they made lots of human and canine friends.  They loved riding the tram at Telluride.  They enjoy going on hikes like younger dogs. Benny and Jet are so loving, they give people kisses like little pecks, not the slobbery kind.”

Corrine is psychologist for the Desert Sands Unified School District with a specialty in special education.  Though trained in human behavior, she appreciates the techniques used to understand and train canines.  Corrine tells us, “The dogs quickly took ownership of my home.  However, I had to eliminate their lengthy barking at guests.  It takes time and patience working with a new dog.  Benny and I took an obedience class to help with anxiety when I leave the house. The dogs were well behaved when I got them and with time and training they are doing great!”

A small Apricot Poodle named Muffin tells her story, “I once had a family with children.  I was afraid when they packed all their belongings.  They put down a bowl of water and a bowl of canned food, and my family drove away.  Soon the food and water were gone, but far worse my heart was broken.  After a few days, the woman who owned the house arrived.  She was angry about the mess in the house, and she was angry I was left there.  She brought me to the Loving All Animals shelter.  The staff gave me food and a warm bed, and a volunteer comforted me.”

Sometimes unforeseeable wonderful things happen.  A month after adopting the brothers, Corrine returned a large crate belonging to Loving All Animals gave.  An Apricot Poodle in the lobby approached and sat by her feet. Corrine recalls, “I picked her up and she did not want to leave my lap.  She had no teeth which made her tongue hang out, but she was that much more adorable.  I couldn’t stop thinking about Muffin, she was the same age as the boys, and I knew few people wanted a dog that age.”

“The next day I called Loving All Animals and arranged for the boys to meet Muffin.  Everything hinged on this meeting.  The three pups met in a shelter yard and after they neutrally coexisted, the dog I named Bella rode back with us to her forever home.  The brothers are a team.  Jett ignores Bella and Benny tolerates her.  Bella doesn’t seem to mind being the odd pup out as she enjoys running around the house and sitting in my lap.  I walk the three of them together four times a day, and Bella is wonderfully leash trained.  I take the dogs for car rides and road trips.”

They loved our day at the Santa Barbara dog beach.  Jett ran like the wind on the beach, pausing only to play with another dog.  Jett’s back legs go together like a rabbit’s when he runs.  The dogs jump up and down with joy every time we get ready for a car ride.”

“The dogs recently celebrated their 10th birthday party.  Hats stayed on long enough for photos until I removed them.  They have a bonded pack mentality, and I am the Alpha.  We are family!  I didn’t need a third dog but couldn’t bear to think of so many creatures who are unwanted and unloved when I had room for one more.”

Loving All Animals could not save precious puppies, bottle feeding kittens, grateful seniors, frightened dogs, or those with medical conditions without your support.  More foster homes and volunteers are needed.  To foster or volunteer call (760) 834-7000.  Donate at  Your donation helps animals like Benny, Jett, and Bella become healthy and happy, and bring comfort and joy in their second chance home.  Thank you to the animal heroes who are part of the journey from homelessness to a home.