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Dog adopted by a West Michigan couple after 8 years in the animal shelter system

The couple fell in love with Kashmir after seeing her on 13 ON YOUR SIDE'S weekend morning adopt-a-pet segment.

MUSKEGON, Mich. — Hundreds of thousands of animals sit waiting at local shelters and rescues for a family to call their own.

One dog’s journey to happily ever after took nearly a decade. Her name is Kashmir, and in the eyes of Dave and Teresa Dekkinga, she is perfect.

“Being a senior dog, she matches our energy level very well. I mean, I love puppies and so does Dave but, you know, being seniors, we just, she's perfect," Teresa Dekkinga said.

When we first met Kashmir back in September of 2021 she had just arrived at the Noah Project in Muskegon after being transferred from a shelter in Florida.

“She was on a euthanasia list. So they had to find a home for her quickly. She has been in the shelter her entire life," Michelle Art, executive director of the Noah Project, said.  

RELATED: A Dog’s Journey: How southern strays find their way to forever homes in the north

Kashmir spent eight years getting shuffled around in the shelter system.

She was chosen to be featured on 13 ON YOUR SIDE's Sunday morning adopt-a-pet segment. That’s when she caught the eye of Dave and Teresa.

“We had your show on. We always watch the show Sunday morning and I sat down and said, 'Honey, it's a beautiful story about Kashmir. Let's go and see her,'" Dave Dekkinga said.

The couple wasn’t sure if they were ready for another dog after their 16-year-old Maltese-Yorkie mix Mia passed away two years ago, but they couldn’t resist Kashmir.

“My heart was broken; his heart was broken and it was like, all of a sudden, I just felt like I was missing something in my life," Teresa said.

They moved quickly to fill out an application and during the meet-n-greet, it was love at first sight.

"They came back and got us, and asked us what do you think? Think about overnight? And we said no, we're not going to think about it overnight, we want her now, and she just gave us kisses and she wanted to go home with us," Dave said.

They all went home that day with big smiles on their faces.

The Dekkingas say there’s nothing like the love and companionship of a dog…

“I think that the thought is that if you're getting a dog from the shelter, there must be something wrong with them. And you need to go visit these dogs because there are so many of them. There's nothing wrong with them," Teresa said.

Kashmir has now been in her home for about five months. She’s spending the winter down South going for long walks with her pet parents.

"There's just something special about giving a senior dog a chance to live out the rest of their life with you," Teresa said.

Kashmir will be spending the rest of her life curled up by the fire with her family nearby.

“Yeah, it's going to be very heartbreaking when her time is up, but she's just so well worth it and we would do it again," Teresa said.

From eight years in a shelter to happily ever after in a forever home: that is Kashmir's story. 

The Dekkingas say they hope others will consider adoption from a shelter or rescue and maybe even a senior dog like Kashmir.

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