An almost 11-year-old dog named Elf who spent more than a year in and out of foster homes and a shelter has a forever home just in time for the holidays.
He also has a heartwarming adoption story that began more than a year ago when he arrived at Best Friends Animal Society's center in Los Angeles covered in ticks. Not much is known about Elf's life before he was taken in by Best Friends, but it likely wasn't easy.
"It was evident that this senior boy had had a rough time," Best Friends said in a news release. "Upon arrival, he was covered in ticks and was timid around most people."
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In a case of serendipitous timing, Sabrina Maharaj started volunteering with Best Friends a few weeks later in June 2021. Over the next few months, Maharaj kept an eye on the handsome senior brindle super mutt who just couldn't seem to meet the right person.
It turned out, the right person was watching over him all along.
"Every time I saw Elf go into a foster home I would get so happy, but then he'd be back in the shelter again," said Maharaj. "It was obvious what a unique, funny, and super sweet soul he was. He never barked at the shelter, which is incredibly rare. Despite this, I was afraid he would continue to get overlooked by potential adopters because of his age."
In October, Maharaj's adopted boxer Finn died due to cancer. No dog can be replaced, but she knew Elf might help fill that dog-shaped hole in her heart.
"I couldn't allow grief to stop my family from getting Elf home for the holidays," Maharaj said.
Shelters throughout the country are struggling with higher animal intake levels as adoptions, fosters and rescues try to keep pace, according to Best Friends. The result: Animals staying in shelters for longer periods.
Embrace Pet Insurance will cover adoption fees at all Best Friends Animal Society lifesaving centers and programs in Atlanta, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Northwest Arkansas, Salt Lake City, and sanctuary in Kanab, Utah through Dec. Animals are fixed, vaccinated, microchipped, and ready to go home.