10-year-old tiny terrier home at last

Two smiling people holding LaBamba the senior dog
La Bamba went from all alone on the streets of New York City to part of a loving family.
By Christina London

They’re small. They’re spunky. They’re geriatric. Meet the Senior Pup Crew: a pack of little dogs living out their golden years with their caregivers in Brooklyn. La Bamba, a partially blind 10-year-old terrier adopted from Best Friends, is their newest member.

Small yet mighty

La Bamba is a pet who could have easily been at risk in a shelter, especially if that shelter were already full and struggling to save younger, healthy dogs and cats. Best Friends’ goal is for all shelters to reach no-kill by 2025, and that means working together to give each animal what they need to move out of the shelter and into a happy new life.

Little La Bamba was found wandering the streets of New York City all alone. When he arrived at Best Friends, our vet staff could see he was thin and likely visually impaired. They determined he had nuclear sclerosis in both eyes. (That’s a hardening of the lens that makes the eye appear cloudy and often develops with age.)

[A senior dog’s journey home]

More concerning was an ulcer in one eye that had caused scarring. After several weeks of observation, the veterinarian determined that the ulcer was healing well, so his eye didn’t have to be removed. But La Bamba still needed to be neutered and have nine troublesome teeth removed. Once he was looking and feeling better, this spirited senior was ready to take on the world.

Setting sights on a home

Alex and B felt it was time to add another pup to their pack. The two were experienced in caring for older dogs and dogs with special needs. When they met La Bamba, they fell in love and knew he would fit right in. After snapping some happy photos outside the Best Friends Lifesaving Center, it was time to go home and join the rest of the gang: Josie, Minnie, and Tahoe.

We can imagine that going to an unfamiliar place with new people and new dogs could be confusing, especially when you can’t see well. But La Bamba learned to navigate his new surroundings in no time, and his caregivers were dedicated to doing whatever they could to help him adjust.

[Senior dog with medical issues charms new family]

La Bamba can still be seen walking the streets of New York — except nowadays, the walks are supervised. But don’t worry, he still has his street smarts. (Whenever he catches his reflection in a mirror with what little vision he has, he barks at that guy, telling him to get lost.) La Bamba can finally let his guard down knowing that he always has a yummy meal coming and a warm bed to sleep in. Speaking of beds, although there are many comfy dog beds sprinkled throughout the house, La Bamba prefers sleeping curled up to his people (with his little pink tongue hanging out).

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

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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.

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