Odenton family creates bucket list for adopted senior dog, wins $10,000 grant for BARCS

When Melissa Davis and her family went to BARCS in June, her child Raven had an unusual request — to adopt the shelter’s oldest dog.

Enter Kaylee, an 11-year-old American Staffordshire terrier who was brought to the Baltimore animal shelter when her owners could no longer afford the care for her.

“No one wants an old dog. People think that puppies are more energetic. I don’t want them to die in a shelter,” Raven said.

The Odenton family adopted Kaylee despite a slew of medical challenges the dog faced, including early kidney disease, a torn ACL, and thyroid carcinoma. And they quickly set about creating a bucket list to make their dog’s final days special.

Their efforts have not gone unnoticed. The Davis family submitted their story to the Petco Foundation’s Holiday Wishes campaign, which won a $10,000 grant for BARCS on Thursday at the Petco Store in Halethorpe.

“To be able to give back to BARCS means so much to us because they gave so much to Kaylee,” Davis said.

Kaylee’s story was one of 52 that won grants — ranging from $5,000 to $100,000 — for their respective animal welfare organizations through the Petco Foundation’s annual campaign.

The Davises have set up a bucket list for their dog, which has included everything from having a birthday party at a dog-themed bakery to having picnic in the park.

“She likes wearing costumes and she talks a lot. She’s a really fun dog,” Raven said, adding that the picnic was probably her favorite bucket list activity. “She kept trying to go around chasing squirrels. That was really fun.”

The Davises dipped into their savings and vacation money to provide care for their beloved dog. Davis said her children even offered to give up their trip to Disneyland so money could go to providing a better life for Kaylee.

Between activities, treatments and medicines, the Davis family has spent thousands on Kaylee. But they insist that she’s worth every penny.

“She’s worth it,” Davis said. “I’d never complain about the amount of money we spend on her. We get it all back for the amount of happiness we get back from her.”

Kaylee is also in the running for the “People’s Choice” award portion of the Petco competition, which ends Dec. 20. That prize is $25,000. And Kaylee is currently in first place.

Davis hopes that Kaylee’s ultimate legacy will be changing the public’s perceptions about older dogs.

“People have this idea that senior dogs aren’t worth adopting because of the little time they have left,” she explained. “They are the perfect companion. They are calm. They are fantastic companions. They are worth every penny you put into them. There is something special about an old dog.”

john-john.williams@baltsun.com

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