"Give me the oldest, least adoptable dog you've got."
That's what Melani Andrews, of Galt, told the Front Street Animal Shelter last week, when she went in to find a furry companion.
"I just decided that it had to be a dog that wasn't going to get picked up by anybody and he deserved better than to die in a shelter," Andrews said, adding the Front Street Shelter does a great job giving animals temporary homes.
"They said, 'Well, let me show you Jake. Jake's a special guy,'" Andrews recalled.
Twelve year old Jake has bad skin, bad teeth, almost no hearing and worse.
"It's a cancer that does not respond to chemotherapy and it does not respond to medicine," Andrews explained.
In less than six months, Andrews expects to lose Jake.
"We just really believe that the little furry ones are part of the family," Andrews said, with tears welling in her eyes.
Losing a pet is something she faced earlier this year, when her six-year-old pup Lola died from a sudden injury.
"You know they say a dog has a purpose? She absolutely had a purpose," Andrews said.
Lola saw Andrews through the death of her husband Jim, in January 2016.
"I don't have quite the attachment for Jake that I had for my former dog that we had for six years and my husband of 35 years, so it won't hurt maybe quite as bad," Andrews said, pausing. "Or who knows - look, I'm going to cry - it might hurt even more. But he still deserves an honorable death in the loving arms of somebody that wants him."
The life cycle can hurt.
"It's just part of life, you know," Andrews said. "You all end up the same way."
It can also give hope.
"Maybe I'll get a year, and [Jake] would be fun to have for a year because he's a lover, he really is," Andrews said.
When Jake finishes his walk in this world, Andrews said she'd do it all over again for another un-adoptable dog, giving it "a chance at dignity in death."
The Front Street Shelter takes in the sick, injured and neglected animals from the city of Sacramento. They say with nearly 11,000 animals in their care every year, there is always a need to provide homes for senior pets and animals with special needs.