“When I first saw him and realized how sad he was, I knew he was going to be with me forever.”
Solo had spent his entire life on the streets of Los Angeles. He grew too old and unwell to run around the streets with the other dogs when he was around 11 years old, so he strolled onto a random woman’s porch and decided to stay there until someone arrived to assist him.
The woman observed a fearful elderly dog living alone on her doorstep and chose to name him Solovino, which means “he came alone” in Spanish. After a few days, the woman contacted Rocket Dog Rescue, who agreed to take him in and fly him out to San Francisco.
Solo was placed in a foster home after arriving to the rescue and resided with numerous fosters for a year and a half. He was adopted out a few times, but he was always returned. No one could understand why the adorable puppy 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 site.” “Then I read his name was Solovino, and being a huge ‘Star Wars’ fan (I even have a cat named after a character from the franchise), I immediately thought, ‘Well, his name is Solo!’ That’s what his foster father had been calling him all along! I had a feeling it was fate.
Then, when I met him and realized how unhappy he was, I knew he’d be with me for the rest of my life.”
Solo was afraid and hesitant when he initially arrived in his new forever home. He was distrustful of people after being on the streets his entire life and then hopping from home to house, and he didn’t seem to trust that this would be his ultimate home.
“He kept his tail between his legs for months when he first came to live with me,” Messina added. “He was completely unresponsive to dogs, people, and cats, and cringed whenever anyone tried to pet him. I rapidly discovered that his hearing, as well as his teeth, were far 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 horrible repair. He had so much anxiety being near people and being pet since he couldn’t hear people approaching him, and his teeth were giving him so much pain that he couldn’t be excited about anything.
His mother postponed a minor surgery so that she could get Solo’s teeth corrected straight away — and once they were, he was transformed into a whole different dog.
Solo now enjoys running and playing wherever he goes, and he especially enjoys meeting new dog pals who happen to cross his path. He has a best buddy named Bailey who lives in the same apartment complex as him, and whenever he visits him, he sprints all the way to Bailey’s apartment. He’s much happy today, and he appears to have accepted the fact that this is his life and that it will never change.
“People in the neighborhood are always saying how he doesn’t seem like the same dog anymore,” Messina added. “For months, he didn’t smile or even open his lips wide enough to pant, but now he smiles, rolls over, and runs full-tilt across the grass a dozen times a day.”
Messina also explored techniques to alleviate Solo’s deafness-related anxiety. When they go out, she now makes him wear a harness 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 difficulties, but he’s content to spend the rest of his life with his new mother, savoring every time he has left. Solo’s mother is even considering moving to a new home without stairs so that he can go around more freely as he gets older — and so that she can adopt additional elderly canines in the future.
Messina remarked, “I’m quite proud of his improvement.” “It’s the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done with my life, and he’s motivated me to adopt more senior dogs in need of hospice care.”