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Senior Pup Cries at the Shelter as Her Owners Leave with a Younger Dog

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Cookie Cried And Howled As She Watched Her Family Leave The Shelter Without Her. Image Via San Bernadino City Shelter.
Cookie cried and howled as she watched her family leave the shelter without her. Image via San Bernadino City Shelter.

When a senior Cocker Spaniel and a young black Labrador were found running loose in California, they were captured and brought into the San Bernadino City Shelter as strays.

When the dogs’ family was found, they promptly came to the shelter to collect their pets. But, in a shocking display of betrayal, the family collected their young black Lab and left Cookie, their senior Cocker Spaniel behind.

Cookie cried and howled as she watched her family, including her canine brother, leave without her.

Cookie’s story quickly spread, gaining attention from dog lovers around the globe, horrified at the heartless treatment from the cruel family that she, nevertheless, loved and longed to be with. But, as it turns out, abandoning her at the shelter may have been the nicest thing the family ever did for her.

She had clearly not been well cared for. She was filthy, showing signs of living her life entirely outside, having been overbred for many years, her body riddled with untreated tumors.

OC Small Paws, a rescue out of Utah, stepped up to rescue the senior girl, believed to be between 8 and 10 years old.

Because of her age and medical condition that will require ongoing veterinary care, OC Small Paws made the decision to permanently foster Cookie. She will live out the remainder of her life finally knowing what it means to be loved, playing with toys, sleeping in a bed, and being cared for in the way that she deserves. For the first time in her life, she’s being housebroken.

Her foster family says that, despite what she’s endured, Cookie is a very sweet, very loving girl who “eats like a horse!”

The rescue has been inundated with calls, emails, and letters from people interested in helping. The best way to help, they say, is to visit your local shelter and help another dog in need, especially another abandoned senior.

There are millions of dogs in shelters and rescues around the country with stories as heartbreaking as Cookie’s. If the thousands of people that showed an interest in Cookie simply redirected that interest toward another senior, the impact could be enormous.

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  1. Avatar Of Jane



    That family should not be allowed to own the young black lab. He/she will be neglected or harmed, given the condition of the cockerel. Take it away now.

  2. Avatar Of Paula



    The owners of this senior dog should not be allowed to buy, adopt, or foster any dog.

    They do not know what it means to care for a dog, whether it be a puppy or a senior dog.

    I’m happy to see that she is being taken care of responsibly and with love.

  3. Avatar Of Anoo



    Well you shouldn’t have given them the black labrador as well. God knows how he/she is faring!

  4. Avatar Of Jme



    The way I feel about the situation is that if they’re getting rid of a dog just because he’s old should not be aloud to adopt another dog. That would be like getting rid of your spouse just because they’re getting old. What the he’ll is wrong with people these days. Animals have feelings as well as anyone else

  5. Avatar Of Carol



    I would like the name and address of the “owners”. They need to have a little schooling on what it means to be a responsible pet owner. You know, like dog training, with electric shock, and some good beatings…(not that I would ever do those things to a dog – they train with kinder methods but humans can be so stubborn).

  6. Avatar Of Jedi



    I am happy they left Cookie behind. If forced to take her the alternative for her may have been far worse possibly death. If the owner was backed into the corner and forced to take both dogs it is possible the owner would have put her down or killed her. While the story may break your heart at least Cookie’s heart is still beating.

  7. Avatar Of Diane



    This was on OC Small Paws facebook

    OC Small Paws So UT
    February 3 at 7:35pm ·
    We are re posting this again as we keep getting calls and emails. The main thing is that we are not formally adopting Cookie out. She is under our forever foster program where she stays in a hospice foster. She has cancer and we do not know how long she has so we are not adopting her out. She will stay local under the care of her vet and the rescue. She still has another large tumor that needs to be removed which will be done soon under the same vet that did her mammary tumor removal. Also, please read below as we are getting emails asking us why we gave them a new dog (which we did not). Please read this. Calls and emails are literally coming in quicker than we can answer. At this point we cannot answer all calls and emails. We are trying but its becoming a major job that we do not have enough time for. We honestly appreciate everyone’s love and support for Cookie, but we are a small foster home based rescue and volunteers and we cannot answer every message/email. We will continue to try but please do not be offended if we do not call or email back. Back to the other point on this. Below are the facts on how she ended up at the shelter. Also the shelter did nothing wrong. This shelter is actually very rescue friendly and that is why they reached out as soon as she was owner surrendered. Legally they had to give back the the other dog as they had proof that she belonged to them and paid the reclaim fee. Thank you for your understanding. We have always had a positive relationship with this shelter and they do the best they can on a very limited city budget. Thank you for reading and support us and Cookie. Below is a repost of what happened.
    “With all of the misinformation going around on Cookie we are going to clarify a few things.
    1) Cookie and another dog, a young lab, were picked up as strays and impounded on 12/30 at San Bernadino shelter.
    2) The owner came to the shelter and claimed the lab and left her behind. They owner surrendered her which means that she did not have to wait a full 7 days on a stray hold. She was deemed rescue only due to medical (tumors and age).
    3) A wonderful foster stepped up and we offered to help.
    4) We have made the collective decision to not adopt her out. She will stay under the care of the rescue for the rest of her life in a local forever foster. She also will be under the care of our vet who has already done her first surgery. She is covered and we will be updating as we go along with her.
    FACT: We have had no contact with the owner and neither us nor the shelter gave them a new dog. They just claimed their own dog and left her behind.
    We appreciate the outpouring of help on her. At this point she is covered. Please if you are able consider helping a local dog that may not be as lucky as Cookie to have an army of people looking out for her.”

  8. Avatar Of Vickie



    This is so sad and heartbreaking ! I’m sorry little angel u had to live that part of your life with such evil humans! Glad they did leave her when I read the whole story! Now she has love and caring for the first time in her life! Bless you all for taking such care of her!

  9. Avatar Of Sue B

    Sue B


    This broke my heart and literally made me cry. I had a beautiful male cocker spaniel that looked just like cookie. He was such a wonderful dog always eager to please. He also had tumors and we had 3 removed. But when congestive heart failure took over when he was 14 years old I had to put my beloved Stanley down. His last few weeks were spent spoiling him rotten, eating hotdogs, and sleeping right next to me and all the walks and doggie park visits he wanted. This story makes me miss him terribly. I’m happy that cookie will live the rest of her life feeling that love and compassion she deserves.

    • Avatar Of Chris Moore

      Chris Moore


      Thank you. This is the way it should be. We keep them through sickness and in health. All the way to the end. Responsible and caring. We just got a rescue after our dog had been gone a year and a half. It almost felt too soon. But. . . sometimes we need a dog, and sometimes a dog needs us. And that is what happened. A little girl shepherd needed a loving home. We thought we were saving her. Actually she saved us. I’m so glad I had the courage to get another best friend. My heart is healed, I will always miss my old girl, but we are happy and joyful again with our new furry friend. A dog makes our house a home.

  10. Avatar Of Deborah Lynch

    Deborah Lynch


    WTF who was the stupid ass that let them get another dog? You ought to be shot.

    • Avatar Of Teresa



      They didn’t get another dog. They claimed the lab they previously had that was picked up as a stray.

  11. Avatar Of Frances



    This is why it only took me a week working at Animal Control to hate people who do things like this. Thankfully now I work with responsible pet owners.

  12. Avatar Of Debra Morris

    Debra Morris


    I do not understand the shelter allowing someone to drop her off and take another younger dog. After looking at her you know she came from an abusive puppy mill. So the shelter should go out and get the younger dog they left with and notify the authorities to the abusive situation. On the other hand I am happy she is now much better taken care of and lived like she should if been all her life. I cried when I first saw the post. I would have taken her in a heart beat.

    • Two dogs were brought in together as strays, the owners had the right to claim and take home both dogs, but they chose to leave the senior behind. They didn’t bring Cookie and trade her in for a younger dog as many people have mistakenly believed.

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