Zizou: Homeless dog to Instagram dog
It wasn’t too long ago that Zizou, a little senior poodle, was found wandering alone on an Atlanta road. She was brought to a municipal shelter before making her way to the Best Friends Pet Adoption Center in Atlanta, where she’d have a better chance of finding a home.
At around 10 years old, many people would think that Zizou’s best days were behind her, but sometimes all it takes is meeting that one person who wants to change your life for the better. And for Zizou, that person happened to be a volunteer at Best Friends who took one look at the disheveled poodle and knew she could make Zizou’s senior years her best years.
A dog brings happiness
When Zizou, whose Instagram handle is “Zizou the weredog,” arrived at the pet adoption center, she was so thin you could see her ribs through her matted hair. But she needed more than just a good shampoo and a few good meals. She also had significant tooth decay and had to have several teeth removed.
Once she fully recovered from dental surgery and was feeling rested after spending so much time on the streets, it was time to introduce Zizou to potential adopters.
“She was such a sweet girl and very lively given her age and considering how difficult things likely were for her before she came to Best Friends,” says Laura Linneman, pet adoption center operations manager.
It didn’t take long for Zizou to capture the attention of Christina, who had just started volunteering at the center as a way to lift her spirits. She and her husband had just moved to Atlanta from Florida, and she was missing the beach. And if a move isn’t stressful enough, she was also having a hard time finding a job, as well as mourning the recent passing of her two golden retrievers.
Christina noticed Zizou during her first volunteer shift and loved how kind and sweet she was with everyone that she met. She knew that Zizou would be a wonderful companion to anyone who adopted her, but every time she returned to the center for her volunteer shift, Zizou was there.
It broke her heart to watch as other dogs at the center got adopted while Zizou stayed behind. And then one day as she held Zizou in her arms, she realized she felt something she hadn’t felt much since the day she moved away from the ocean. She was happy.
Christina knew adopting Zizou would mean new beginnings for both the sweet senior dog and herself. She went home that night and talked it over with her family and returned to the center the next day hoping Zizou was still there.
Of course she was. She had been waiting for Christina all along.
Zizou the ‘weredog’
“She is such a gentle soul,” says Christina. “And my good luck charm.”
After adopting Zizou, Christina found a job — and not just any job, but one that requires regular travel back to her Florida town. Her husband works for the same company and they often drive to Florida together with Zizou in tow.
These days, Zizou has traded walks that are alone and abandoned on a dark Atlanta road for frolics on the beach with her new family. She loves her new life, and Christina captures it all on social media. Zizou has her very own Instagram account (Zizou the weredog) where Christina documents Zizou’s greatest joys that include car rides and snuggles on the couch.
“It’s our way of showing how rewarding it is to adopt from a rescue organization,” says Christina. “There are so many dogs out there like Zizou who need homes, and the rewards are endless. Life is so much fun with Zizou. We love her.”
Photos by Patton Lansdaal