“When I first saw him and saw how sad he was, I knew he was going to be with me forever.”
Solo had spent his whole life on the streets of Los Angeles. He was too old and sick to run through the streets like the other dogs when he was around 11 years old, so he walked into a random woman’s porch and decided to sit there until someone came to rescue him.
The woman found a frightened senior dog living alone on her porch and decided to call him Solovino, which means “he came alone” in Spanish. After a few days, the woman called Rocket Dog Rescue, who decided to take him in and fly him out to San Francisco.
Solo was put in a foster home after arriving at the rescue and remained with various fosters for a year and a half. He was adopted out a few times, but he was still recalled. No one could understand why the poor dog couldn’t find a permanent home until Carol Messina came across his photo on the internet.
Messina, Solo’s new mother, told The Dodo, “I wanted to love him as soon as I saw his face on their blog.” “Then I saw his name was Solovino, and as a huge ‘Star Wars’ fan (I even have a cat named after a character from the franchise), I instantly thought, ‘Well, his name is Solo!’ That’s what his adoptive father had been calling him all along! I had a feeling it was destiny.
Then, when I met him and saw how sad he was, I knew he’d be with me for the rest of my life.”
Solo was scared and timid when he first arrived in his new forever home. He was suspicious of people after living on the streets his whole life and then moving from home to home, and he didn’t seem to believe that this would be his final home.
“He kept his tail between his legs for months when he first came to live with me,” Messina said. “He was completely unresponsive to dogs, humans, and cats, and flinched if someone attempted to pet him. I soon discovered that his hearing, as well as his teeth, were much worse than his foster parents thought.”
Due to Solo’s advanced age and ill health, the rescue and foster families were unaware that he was practically deaf and that his teeth were in poor condition. He had so much trouble being around people and being pet that he couldn’t hear people approaching him, and his teeth were causing him so much discomfort that he couldn’t be excited about anything. His mother postponed a minor operation so that she could have Solo’s teeth repaired right away — and once they were, he was transformed into a totally different dog.
Solo now enjoys running and playing everywhere he goes, and he particularly enjoys meeting new dog friends who happen to cross his path. He has a best friend called Bailey who lives in the same apartment complex as him, and whenever he visits him, he runs all the way to Bailey’s apartment. He’s much happier now, and he seems to have embraced the fact that this is his life and that it will never improve.
“People in the neighborhood are still saying how he doesn’t look like the same dog anymore,” Messina said. “For months, he didn’t smile or even open his mouth wide enough to pant, but now he laughs, rolls around, and runs full-tilt across the lawn a dozen times a day.”
Messina also sought ways to alleviate Solo’s deafness-related anxiety. When they go out, she now makes him wear a leash that says he’s deaf so that people won’t pet him without asking. When she enters a room, she always turns the lights on and off so he knows she’s there and won’t be startled if she walks up behind him.
Solo has a number of health problems, but he’s content to spend the rest of his life with his new mother, savoring every moment he has left. Solo’s mother is also considering moving to a new home without stairs so that he can get around more quickly as he gets older — and so that she can foster more senior dogs in the future.
Messina said, “I’m very proud of his growth.” “It’s the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done with my life, and he’s encouraged me to adopt more senior dogs in need of hospice care.”