The heartwarming story of how this widow took home the oldest, 'least adoptable' dog in the shelter

Melani Andrews recently adopted Jake, a 12-year-old mixed-breed dog with terminal cancer. (Photo: Facebook)

Melani Andrews lost both her husband of 35 years and the family dog earlier this year. So when she finally decided that it was time to bring a new companion into her home and life, she did something a little different.

It was her granddaughters who had convinced her that it was time to adopt a dog. They told her that she “needed another dog to keep me company,” she told BuzzFeed this week.

When she went to her local shelter, the Front Street Animal Shelter in Sacramento, Calif., Andrews requested “the oldest, least adoptable dog.” They showed her Jake, a 12-year-old mixed-breed dog with terminal cancer and other health issues. Andrews took him home that day.

As the folks at the Front Street shelter described the visit on their Facebook page:

“Jake has been with us for a long time, is a senior and has cancer in addition to skin problems. He was getting passed up time and time again. But Melani came to the shelter not just to find a great dog, but to save a life and give unconditional love to a dog in need. As you can see, it’s a match made in heaven. Please help us thank Melani…People like her are our heroes.”

Jake’s face in the picture of them together speaks volumes about how the old guy feels about his new home.

Because of his cancer, Jake isn’t expected to live for more than about six months. And while the idea of losing another loved one so soon after her dog Lola and her husband might be daunting, Andrews says she’s up for it.

“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,” she told KXTV news. “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.”

According to the ASPCA, more than 6 million pets enter shelters every year in the United States. Of those animals, nearly 1.5 million are euthanized. About 3 million are adopted by families every year, which is encouraging, but this still doesn’t outpace the number of animals abandoned. Even so, the statistics appear to be improving. And thanks to people like Melani Andrews, even the older, “least adoptable” animals have a chance.

Read more from Yahoo Style + Beauty

Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest for nonstop inspiration delivered fresh to your feed, every day. For Twitter updates, follow @YahooStyle and @YahooBeauty.