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11/13/2015 01:01 pm ET Updated Nov 14, 2015

The Story Of How George Clooney's Rescue Dog Went From Homeless To A Villa In Italy

Einstein Clooney got a second chance at the good life.
OMEGA

George Clooney's beloved dog Einstein was an elderly, sick stray, before he became the sort of animal who spends time at a villa in Italy, mooching food off movie stars.

Einstein was in a rough condition when he wound up at a California animal shelter. He got out and into a foster home through the group Camp Cocker Rescue.

His foster mom got him in good shape -- and then made a wonderful video, of the lucky dog's transformation.

George Clooney saw the video, below, and fell in love.  (We'll wait while you get tissues.)

When Clooney went to meet Einstein, the dog was too busy stealing food from his foster mom's kitchen cupboards to pay him any mind.

The match took, anyway.

Clooney adopted Einstein -- and told Laura T. Coffey about why he wanted an older dog, and details about their happy life together, for the new book My Old Dog: Rescued Pets With Remarkable Second Acts

"Einstein has grown to love Italian food," Clooney said. "Age doesn't matter."

"Clooney really did do a great thing when he adopted Einstein, and he set a wonderful example for others who might be in the market for a new pet," Coffey said.

New World Library

All of the dogs whose stories are told in My Old Dog will move you (off the couch, and over to your dog to give them a hug).

There's 15-year-old Bretagne, who is one of the last known living 9/11 search dogs to work at ground zero. And 9-year-old Remy, a pit bull who was famously adopted by nuns who are themselves in their 70s and 80s, because nobody else wanted him.

Stella got abandoned right before Thanksgiving one year when her owner moved and decided to leave her behind. After she
Lori Fusaro / My Old Dog
Stella got abandoned right before Thanksgiving one year when her owner moved and decided to leave her behind. After she got adopted from a shelter, her new owner marveled at how happy Stella was and how much she relished opportunities to play and go for car rides.

The book tells the stories of perfectly ordinary, perfectly loved long-in-the-tooth dogs as well -- like Sunny, a beautiful, 18-year-old pit bull who was adopted out of the Los Angeles city shelter by the book's photographer Lori Fusaro.

Gabby, far left, Duval, center, and Sunny, far right, became the best of friends in their later years. Duval and Sunny w
Lori Fusaro / My Old Dog
Gabby, far left, Duval, center, and Sunny, far right, became the best of friends in their later years. Duval and Sunny were adopted as seniors, and both dogs thrived in their new, loving homes. Their stories are shared in the book My Old Dog: Rescued Pets with Remarkable Second Acts.

Coffey says that she hopes readers will come away with some new -- or reinforced -- appreciation for our grey-muzzled friends.

All the better if that translates into you wanting to be more like George Clooney -- by adopting or fostering an older dog of your own. (The book is full of information about rescue groups and shelters that find homes for older dogs -- many even cover the dogs' medical and other expenses.)

Maddie, a tiny shih tzu rescued as a senior, helped a 75-year-old widow overcome depression and anxiety. Their story of
Lori Fusaro/My Old Dog
Maddie, a tiny shih tzu rescued as a senior, helped a 75-year-old widow overcome depression and anxiety. Their story of healing together is chronicled in the new book My Old Dog: Rescued Pets with Remarkable Second Acts.

"When you go out of your way to help an older dog who has run out of options, you get so much in return: affection, gratitude, unconditional love and so many happy memories," Coffey said. "These dogs know that you saved them."

This is one of hundreds of dogs saved from euthanasia in shelters by the group Old Dog Haven, the largest senior-dog res
Lori Fusaro/My Old Dog
This is one of hundreds of dogs saved from euthanasia in shelters by the group Old Dog Haven, the largest senior-dog rescue group of its kind in the United States. Thanks to a network of foster homes throughout western Washington state, Old Dog Haven place senior shelter dogs in permanent foster homes and continues to cover all veterinary costs for the rest of the dogs’ lives.

Your dog may not get to travel on private jets, or visit movie sets, or dine with celebrities, like that lucky dog Einstein. 

But to that sweet pupparoo, you're the biggest star in the world.

Guess who fell in love with this happy cocker spaniel named Einstein through an online video? None other than actor and
Lori Fusaro/My Old Dog
Guess who fell in love with this happy cocker spaniel named Einstein through an online video? None other than actor and filmmaker George Clooney. Before he got rescued, Einstein was an obese stray who was hours away from being put down at a crowded California shelter. 

Get in touch at arin.greenwood@huffingtonpost.com if you an animal story to share! 

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