Ken Crutcher has a new dog to keep him company, but it took some doing.
Crutcher first went to the Animals Benefit Club, a no-kill shelter, hoping to adopt a 3-month-old Alaskan husky.
Workers turned him down because, at 85, he was too old.
“They said I might be 100 years old, and the dog would still be living,” he said.
The founder and executive director of the shelter, Dee Kotinas, said Crutcher was turned down because the dog he chose was a frisky puppy that already weighed 30 pounds.
The dog could grow to 100 pounds, and workers at the shelter were afraid he would knock Crutcher down or tear his skin with puppy teeth and claws.
“We try to match the animal with the person and their lifestyle,” she said.
Some authorities thought the shelter’s decision was misguided.
“I have an uncle who is 86 and travels all over the world,” said Pauline Komnenich, an Arizona State University nursing professor and expert on aging.
David Mitchell, a state representative for the American Association of Retired Persons, said it was “incredible that they would not allow an older person to have a dog.
“I find that really sad.”
After the shelter turned Crutcher down, he went to the Arizona Humane Society on Monday. A little white male dog, Val, is Crutcher’s new companion.
“I like having dogs,” he said.
“My wife died 11 years ago, lost her to cancer. Dogs are a lot of company, you know.”