Faces of No-Kill: Senior dog is lucky in love

Jack Dugan with Lucky Charm the dog, who is wearing a green jacket
Katrina and Jack knew Lucky Charm was the dog for them, but the timing wasn't right to adopt — until it was, and then they couldn't wait another day.
By Karen Asp

There’s nothing like a pet to make home feel more like home. That’s exactly what Jack and Katrina Dugan thought, too, which is why they wanted to adopt a dog after they moved into a new home.

This story is a part of our Faces of No-Kill series, highlighting the journey of pets who lost their place to call home. These pets are thriving today thanks to an animal shelter that helped them rather than killed them. Best Friends’ goal is for every shelter and every community to reach no-kill in 2025, and this story shows why that’s so important.

They didn’t want any dog though; they wanted an older dog. “We thought it would be good to find a dog who’s being overlooked for no other reason than age,” Jack says. And of course, a senior dog would most likely already be house-trained and know some other cues.

And so they began window shopping, so to speak. Their online search found a 12-year-old dog named Lucky Charm who spoke to their soul, but the timing wasn’t quite right yet for them to adopt. They kept tabs on him for months at the shelter, but suddenly he was no longer there. Turns out, though, luck was on their side.

Finding their Lucky Charm

Lucky Charm landed at Animal Care Centers of NYC when his person could no longer care for him. And that’s where Jack and Katrina first spotted him on the shelter’s website. Not only did his age appeal to them but also his size, as they were looking for a medium to large dog. They weren’t ready yet to adopt, but they continued checking frequently on his adoption profile and the shelter’s social media accounts.

A couple months later, they decided it was time to adopt. But when they went to check Lucky Charm’s profile, it was gone. “We didn’t think we’d ever see him again,” Katrina says.

And then miraculously about a month later, Lucky Charm popped up on the shelter’s Instagram. The post explained that he’d been moved to the Best Friends Lifesaving Center in New York City. Best Friends collaborates with our shelter partners to take in and place their pets in new homes as we work together to bring the nation to no-kill in 2025.

[A senior dog’s journey home]

Lucky Charm quickly earned a reputation as a sweetheart at the lifesaving center. "He was such a good walker and the perfect older, gentlest dog,” Best Friends caregiver Catherine Perez says. “Even for being a senior dog he still enjoyed his walks and playing.”

Jack and Katrina didn’t wait. They knew they had to meet him before he disappeared again. Katrina went to see him on a Thursday — “He was such a sweet old man,” she says — and told Best Friends staff that she’d be back with Jack to adopt him together on Saturday.

But that wait was too long. “It would have been a blow if we somehow missed out on him,” says Jack, who went to the lifesaving center on Friday, arriving before it opened. Lucky Charm was going home.

A senior with spunk

Since then, Lucky, as they’re calling him, has brought them nothing but joy. “He’s such a happy guy who loves people,” Jack says.

His age often surprises people, as he’s an active dog. He goes on three walks a day and loves playing with balls.

[Senior dog finds love on the beaches of California]

Of course, Jack and Katrina know their time with Lucky will be somewhat limited because of his age, but they don’t dwell on that. “Every day we have with him is a gift, and we’ll treasure him for as long as we have, which is hopefully many more years,” Jack says.

Let's make every shelter and every community no-kill by 2025

Our goal at Best Friends is to support all animal shelters in the U.S. in reaching no-kill by 2025. No-kill means saving every dog and cat in a shelter who can be saved, accounting for community safety and good quality of life for pets. 

Shelter staff can’t do it alone. Saving animals in shelters is everyone’s responsibility, and it takes support and participation from the community. No-kill is possible when we work together thoughtfully, honestly, and collaboratively.

Silhouette of two dogs, cat and kitten

You can help save homeless pets

You can help end the killing in shelters and save the lives of homeless pets when you foster, adopt, and advocate for the dogs and cats who need it most.

Saving lives around the country

Together, we're creating compassionate no-kill communities nationwide for pets and the people who care for them.

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