‘Amazing’ 13-year-old dog goes home with senior Bradenton couple

With a red and white polka dot bandana around her neck, Gracie Lou left the Humane Society of Manatee County with a new family Friday afternoon.

“Bye. Bye Gracie,” shelter staff said as Gracie Lou left from the shelter, 2515 14th St. W., Bradenton.

After reading about the 13-year-old black Labrador mix in the Bradenton Herald, Margie and Allen Krogel of Bradenton adopted Gracie Lou less than 72 hours after she arrived at the Bradenton shelter. The Krogels adopted another 13-year-old dog named Murray from the Humane Society in October 2015.

“It’s an older dog, for one thing, because we don’t need any little dogs jumping on us or anything,” 80-year-old Margie Krogel said as she sat next to her 84-year-old husband. “We got a pool so we are hoping Gracie Lou would like to swim, too. We like Labs to begin with so that’s wonderful.”

Gracie Lou was dropped off Tuesday afternoon at the Humane Society of Manatee County after the owner gave the dog to a stranger in the parking lot of the Lowe’s shopping center in Bradenton. The dog was brought to the Bradenton shelter with a bag of toys and a letter from the owner apologizing for having to “leave this amazing animal with you.”

Friday afternoon was the first time Allen Krogel met Gracie Lou.

“She’s a beauty,” he said.

Gracie Lou’s new owners have had their own adventure. The couple got engaged in 1954 but after Margie Krogel broke the engagement, the two went their separate ways until Allen Krogel found Margie’s phone number in 2012 and called. Allen Krogel said he wrapped up the engagement ring in a piece of foil and put it in his jewelry box and 58 years later he got the opportunity to put the ring back on Margie’s finger.

“I said, ‘Here’s your ring’ and she said, ‘Oh my God,’” he said. “It is just wonderful really. It has been great for both of us.”

The couple moved to Bradenton four years ago where they wed.

The older dogs keep the senior couple “mobile,” Margie Krogel said.

“It is good. It is good for all of us,” she said.

The Humane Society of Manatee County has a Seniors for Seniors program where seniors 65 years and older can adopt an animal 6 years and older with no adoption fee.

“You are helping every senior dog in shelters in Manatee County,” Humane Society of Manatee County Executive Director Rick Yocum told the Krogels on Friday. “Your story is inspiring other people. That’s the real value of this.”

Moments like watching Gracie Lou go home remind shelter manager Brenna Beightol why she does what she does, she said.

“They mean more than just the world to us,” she said. “They are the world.”

Claire Aronson: 941-745-7024, @Claire_Aronson