'As Old as Methuselah!' - UPDATE

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Shelter manager Yvonne recently visited Dierenprovang Koningen (the main reception centre for PAWS dogs being homed in Holland). Whilst there she had the chance to catch up with Veccio, whom she had fostered for 11 weeks in Spain. Veccio was adopted by the shelter's owner Astrid Koningen and has been living in some style in Astrid's home for the past year.

Despite his great age, he is still going strong! "He is doing really well," said Yvonne. "He sleeps a lot but he's still his own funny self. When I sat down on the sofa he came and lay next to me, ready for his cuddles. So he's 601 now!!"

veccio yvonne 3
veccio yvonne 2

Read his original story a year ago:

Little Veccio finds an unexpected home

paw Veccio arrived in PAWS shelter in October 2013.   Very small and probably fairly elderly, on closer examination PAWS vet Ellen pronounced him the oldest dog she had ever encountered in Spain – “about 600 years old!” (a reference to the biblical character, reputedly the oldest-ever human).

So Veccio (vecchio is the Italian for old) was very small, very old, and suffering from all the usual ailments associated with age – not exactly a bright prospect for re-homing.  Who wants to adopt a dog and just have time to get properly attached to it … before it expires of old age?  Privately the shelter management thought Veccio would be at PAWS for the rest of his natural life.  

Enter Astrid Koningen.  Astrid owns and runs the Dierenopvang Koningen shelter in Balkbrug, 30 kilometers east of Zwolle, in Holland.  They have been working with PAWS for the past two and a half years but have recently taken over from de Reddingsboei as the main reception centre for PAWS dogs travelling to the Netherlands.

veccio 2

paw When PAWS Dutch liaison officer Renée Fortuin tentatively showed Astrid a photo of Veccio and asked if there was any possibility of him coming to Holland, Astrid didn’t hesitate for a second.  “Of course, we’ll take him -  we take lots of elderly dogs here and find good homes for them, they are grateful and lovely and can be very good companions.  Even dogs or cats with handicaps are welcome, they need homes as well.”

And on further reflection Astrid not only didn’t back off, she went one step further and decided to adopt Veccio herself.   Astrid not only owns and runs the shelter adjoining the house she shares with her partner, they already had a personal menagerie of 5 dogs, 3 cats, 8 chickens and 4 pigeons! “But I asked my girlfriend about it, and course she said yes!”

So early on Thursday 30th January 2014 the PAWS van set off for Holland with Veccio on board.  Veccio was the last dog to be loaded onto the van by shelter manager Yvonne Tromp.  Yvonne had fostered him for the previous 11 weeks and had grown really fond of him.  “He was lovely to have around, with a positive, funny and sparkly character.  I was delighted he was going to such a good home, but still part of me was a tiny bit sad to say goodbye.”

And when the van arrived in Balkburg late the following afternoon, Veccio was the first dog off – and straight into Astrid’s arms.  He was taken home to meet all the others in his new family, and two days later he joined in at a birthday party with lots of family and friends, charming all the visitors by sitting with them on the sofa.

veccio yvonne
veccio astrid
Saying goodbye to Yvonne at PAWS ...
... straight into Astrid's arms at Balkbrug

paw “He came straight in like he had never lived anywhere else,” said Astrid later.  “Already we are so in love with him because he is such a lovely dog, always kind to everyone, always walking behind me and my girlfriend, running around sometimes but having lots of sleep as well.  It has been really cold in Holland the last few weeks, but it’s not necessary for him to be out in the cold – he can lie on our sofa in the warmth.” 

veccio basket
veccio garden
Snuggled up in his basket in the house
Checking out the chicken coop in the back garden. He really is a tiny dog!

Even before he arrived, Astrid had posted his photo on Facebook with the message: “Welcome home Veccio!!  So little Veccio beat the odds that were stacked against him, and found the best of all possible homes.

“A rescue that makes the news gives me hope for mankind.
We are a quiet but determined army, and making a difference ever day.”

(‘I am an Animal Rescuer’ by Annette King-Tucker)


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