The classic saying is that "an old dog can't learn new tricks," but we've never heard of a person too old to adopt a dog.
But that's why a 70-year-old Wisconsin woman only identified as Mary says her adoption application for a homeless dog was rejected. Mary had seen a listing for a one-year-old Yorkie mix who was being fostered near her home.
The dog seemed like a perfect fit for Mary, who was looking for a small animal that could follow her on vacations around the world. But when she applied to adopt the dog, she was stunned by the animal shelter's response.
The Fluffy Dog Rescue animal shelter explained that they have "a philosophy of 'adoption for life'" before adding "we feel there are other dogs that may be more suitable for you. In your case it would be a dog aged three or older."
The decision was especially painful for Mary, who has been looking for a new companion since her husband passed away three years ago.
"I think they made a very poor judgment," she told TMJ4, "in the fact they don't know me."
Mary's daughter Melissa fired back at the animal shelter in an e-mail, and now more animal rescue groups are weighing in on Fluffy Dog's unusual decision.
In a response to Fluffy Dog's decision, Mary's daughter Melissa was very critical of the rescue group.
"To just write it off because of a number it was really upsetting," Melissa said. Despite what the group thinks about her mother's age, she says Mary is definitely "looking for a lifelong companion."
"There are many rescues out there that will sell anyone a dog without a care of what might happen to them," Fluffy Dog said in their own reply. "We are not that rescue."
But other animal rescue groups interviewed by TMJ say there's no reason to reject an adoption based on a pet owner's age. The Wisonsin Humane Society says they've never even heard of such a practice.
But it does happen. A Canadian woman says PetSmart wouldn't let her adopt a kitten because of her age, and she was only 60.
And of course, there are plenty of other examples not involving pets. Like the 84-year-old doctor who lost her medical license because she never learned to use a computer.
Other animal shelters say they would gladly let Mary adopt a dog, but she has her heart set on the Yorkie she saw listed online.
"I just feel like I'm a good loving person and I could give a lot of love to a little dog, any dog," she says.
Do you think this is fair?