On Facebook one day, Wanda Kartal saw a little red notification at the top right corner of her screen. After clicking on it, she saw that a friend had tagged her in a photo of a 10-year-old tan and reddish dog named Cinnamon (Cinnie for short).
Having recently had to put down her own dog, Dixie, Ms. Kartal showed Cinnie’s picture to her boyfriend, Ted Parker. They then discovered that Cinnie had her own Facebook page — a campaign mounted by the North Fork Animal Welfare League to find her a home after five years in the Southold shelter.
Ms. Kartal and Mr. Parker, who live in Morrisville, Pa., contacted NFAWL about adopting the dog and were approved only a day after submitting their application.
“When I saw her I thought, you’ve got to be kidding — how could nobody have taken her?” Ms. Kartal recalled in an interview last week.
Cinnie, who is believed to be a mix of Shiba Inu and American Staffordshire terrier, traveled to Pennsylvania Wednesday to meet her new family.
“It’s bittersweet when they leave after they’ve been here this long,” said Gillian Wood Pultz, NFAWL executive director. “Of course we’ll miss her, but everybody is so ecstatic that she’s going into a home.”
Ms. Kartal said she’s excited for Cinnie to become part of her family and noted that she stocked up on tennis balls after learning that the dog likes to play fetch “all day long.” She also picked out a new bed and has been clearing the snow in her backyard so it’s ready for the social media star’s arrival.
Cinnie’s Facebook page has over 3,300 likes and has been shared by The Mr. Mo Project, a national senior dog group with over 200,000 followers, Ms. Wood Pultz said.
The Mr. Mo Project focuses on finding a home for senior shelter dogs and pays all medical care costs for the dogs it sponsors. After seeing Cinnie’s page, the organization reached out to NFAWL asking to sponsor Cinnie and any other senior dogs at the shelter Ms. Wood Pultz said The Mr. Mo Project currently sponsors three NFAWL dogs: Cinnie, Betsy and Barkly.
Ms. Wood Pultz said senior dogs are sometimes difficult to place because people are afraid they’ll get attached and then either lose the dog sooner than expected or be unable to afford its medical bills.
On Friday morning, after being showcased on The Mr. Mo Project’s Facebook page, Betsy, who has been at the Southold shelter since October, was adopted by another woman from Pennsylvania. Betsy is believed to be a pitbull-hound mix around eight or nine years old, Ms. Wood Pultz said.
Betsy and Cinnie traveled together on Wednesday to their new homes, transported by NFAWL manager Gabby Stroup and shelter trainer Gina Lepine.
“I’m nervous — It’s like giving a child away,” Ms. Stroup said, adding that she’s happy the Facebook page she created for Cinnie ultimately found her a home.
The thousands of people who have followed Cinnie’s journey to adoption can continue to check in on her.
“So many people asked if we were going to keep them updated, because they literally fell in love with her,” Ms. Kartal said. “Our intention is … to start posting pictures so people can see she’s doing well.”
NFAWL also runs a “Seniors for Seniors” program, which encourages senior citizens to adopt an older animal by providing boarding, transportation to the veterinarian and home deliveries of pet food.
Ms. Wood Pultz said older dogs are best for senior citizens because those pets mostly enjoy curling up with an owner while they read or watch TV.
Ms. Kartal, who owned two senior dogs before adopting Cinnie, agreed older dogs make great pets.
“I guess because my 91-year-old mom is with me, we looked for a dog that’s more calm and situated,” she said. “Senior dogs seem to blend easier into the family and become more comfortable. And they’re trained already.”
Ms. Wood Pultz said Cinnie participated in the “Read and Relax” program, where volunteers come and read to dogs in a quiet indoor space at the shelter. She said Cinnie especially loved the program.
“Now Cinnie will be living the ‘Read and Relax’ program,” she said.
Correction: Ms. Kartal and Mr. Parker live in Morrisville, Pa., not Morristown, Pa.
Photo credits: Katharine Schroeder