When Charles and Pilar Celeste lost their dog earlier this year, they thought that would be their last pet.
"We had an empty spot in our heart so we decided, yeah we really want another dog. And we ended up with two," said Charles.
Lizzy was the first to come into their family. She had heartworm, which requires lengthy and costly treatments. The Celestes did the "Foster to Adopt" program at the Baltimore Humane Society during her treatment.
"It allowed us to foster her while she was getting the heartworm treatment and to make sure everything went well. We weren’t responsible for making sure she had her medications," said Charles.
For four months, the Celestes would take Lizzy to the Baltimore Humane Society for treatments and kept her from getting over excited in between appointments. The shelter relies on foster parents to care for the stressed and sick animals that come into their care.
"[Foster parents] are not left to just fly on their own," said Wendy Goldband, marketing and PR director at the Baltimore Humane Society. "We guide them every step of the way, give them the medications that are needed and we make sure everything is going properly."
The Celestes then decided Lizzy needed a friend, so they adopted PJ, a 13-year-old lab. She was relatively healthy and just looking for a place to chew her toys and chase balls.
"Senior dogs are great, all they want is love," said Charles.
Senior animals, which are considered seven years old and older, are usually harder to adopt. Baltimore Humane offers a discount on their adoption fees for all senior pets.
"You know their personality, they’re generally house broken and trained," said Goldband. "They have all their manners and they appreciate you when you adopt them. They know and they just adore you."
The Celestes say they weren't disturbed by Lizzy's health problems of PJ's age. They just wanted to fill the empty space in their hearts.
"All they want is love and they make great companions," said Charles.
Baltimore Humane also has the "Pets for Patriots" program, where active, retired and reserved military members can adopt an animal for free. They also do free adoptions to first responders.
To help support Baltimore Humane, come to DogFest on Saturday Sept. 16 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the shelter on Nicodemus Road in Reisterstown.