OMAHA, Neb. — 91-year-old Bette Olson is a fighter. Last Thanksgiving she suffered a stroke and then just a few months ago, her dog of 14 years passed away. Loneliness consumed her.
"I just have to have a pet, I can't stand it. My husband's been gone for over 18 years now and it's too lonely without someone around," she said.
Then, she heard about Ellie Mae.
"It was like love at first sight for both my mom and I," Bette's daughter Megan Wilson said.
Ellie Mae was found in awful conditions. Her hair was completely matted.
"Absolutely. That was the worst case of matting that I think any of us had ever seen," Pam Wiese of the Nebraska Humane Society said.
She was found in her owners home, her owner had passed away. Family members say they didn't even know there was a dog in the house. But just like Bette Mae, Ellie was a fighter.
"She was found just in time because she was getting to the point where she couldn't walk with all of that," Wilson said.
"When we popped her out of that hard shell of hair she's in great condition," Wiese said.
Under that tick layer of matted hair was a sweet, healthy maltese shih tzu. And Bette and her daughter just knew they had to have her.
"But I didn't think we stood a chance because the popularity of the dog was just going crazy," Wilson said.
But they got her. And Bette Mae and Ellie Mae are a match made in heaven.
"And the fact that we still have my mom and the dog lived, they're meant to be together," Wilson said. "91 and 11 and hopefully they can just live many more golden years out and just be buddies."