DJ and Brandy -- Seniors Miraculously Reunited with Their Pups
"DJ and Brandy were surrendered to a shelter. Ordinarily, they would have been euthanized because of their age. However, they were turned in as 'strays,' and it was the shelter's policy to hold them for some time, in case an owner might be searching for them. A friend called to tell me about these two Boxers, knowing that I already owned three (along with a Bulldog), and thinking that perhaps I might be able to help find the owner or a home for them. The shelter was an hour away, but I agreed to go and see them. One look, and I felt so sorry for them that I adopted them on the spot. I noticed right away that there was a strong resemblance between the two female Boxers I already had and these two older dogs. It seemed very pronounced, and I was curious, so I called the person from whom I had purchased one of my females. After putting the pieces of the puzzle together, it turns out that I had adopted the parents of my Boxer Cinnamon and the sire of her half-sister Jewel. Brandy, age 10, and DJ, age 11, fit into the family immediately. They are a joy to own and unbelievably devoted -- almost as though they know they have been given a second chance at life. I am so glad that I took them both; they are so attached to each other -- sleeping on top of each other, eating from the same bowl, being totally inseparable. I'm thankful for the miracle that led me to find them, an hour's drive from my home, at a shelter I would never have visited, and to reunite them with members of their family." (The photo, from left: DJ, Brandy, and their daughter Cinnamon, age 7, at their first Christmas after being reunited.) Contributed by Gayle Emmons, Bark River, MI (january 1999)
Dafny, A 13-Year Old Pit Bull, "Gentle as a Kitten"
"I've had Dafny since she was five weeks old. A 90-pound, full-blooded Pit Bull, she is as gentle as a kitten and loves my cats and grandson. I never had her ears or tail clipped when she was a puppy because I didn't want her to look vicious. Dafny and my tiny Pekinese, Keiko, were inseparable until Keiko died two years ago. Keiko was so tiny and Dafny so big. Keiko would hang on her lower lip by his teeth while Dafny ran around with him. She was always careful not to hurt him. I've seen kittens sleep with Dafny, curled up against her stomach. She is as tender as a mother to them. When the two cats I have get into a spat, Dafny runs between them to stop the fight. Her gentleness and caring even extends to the bird family: one time the cats killed a bird, and I saw Dafny pushing the dead bird's body and whining as though she were trying to help it get up and fly. She knows how to 'give you five,' and makes it very clear that she doesn't like people smoking by showing her teeth. That's the only time she looks scary; but she absolutely hates cigarette smoke. I'd like people to realize that a Pit Bull can be a gentle and wonderful family member. It takes a lot of affection and care, but it's worth it." Contributed by Linda Stephens, Houston, TX
German Shepherd Dog "Daisy" and Her Family Explain Why It's a Good Idea to Adopt an Old Dog
"Daisy was turned in to Mid-Atlantic German Shepherd Rescue by her family. She was overweight and had arthritis. She also had some other minor age-related medical problems, all of which added up to more than they wanted to handle. I want to thank Daisy's family for surrendering her to MAGSR, and also to thank MAGSR for accepting her into their rescue program. Many other old dogs might not have been that lucky. MAGSR saw to it that Daisy got to a vet who put her on medication, which cleared up most of her problems. She lost some weight and began to enjoy life again with her foster family. But her foster home had cats, which Daisy had never seen before. She chased them good-naturedly, out of curiosity. The foster family could not keep her very long, and it was clear she needed a permanent home. But who would adopt a 10-12-year-old dog?
"Many people who think about adopting an older dog have doubts and questions: How will she adjust? Will she be set in her ways? Could she adapt to a new routine, new companions (including lots of cats)? Would she listen to us? Love us? Become part of our family? And, yes, could we let ourselves grow to love her, only to lose her in a few short years? The answer to all those questions is a resounding YES! Daisy adapted quickly to her new home, new routines and new companions. Yes, she chased the cats at first, but, once the novelty wore off, she just accepted them as part of her new family, as she did our other two dogs. She has even made a special friend of our blind cat. She has learned our routine, and greets us at the door every night when we come home. She treats us to big sloppy kisses. She doesn't chew or make a mess in the house. She is a loving, sweet, intelligent person with a mind of her own. "And yes, we have grown to love her, and she has grown to love us. No one lives forever, and life holds no guarantees. It gives us great happiness to know that, whatever her life was like before, her golden years will be spent in the comfort of our home and the love of our hearts. Anyone who loves a dog or cat knows that someday they will have to say goodbye. But we will enjoy her company with all our hearts for whatever time we are allowed, as we all do with our loved ones. Thanks to MAGSR for saving her life and bringing her into ours." Contributed by Peggy Terl & John Eckert and all the Furry Folks, Maryland. July 2000.
Daisy & Jessie, Two Members of a Terrific Three-some of Seniors
"Our household is made up of three seniors....me, Daisy and Jessie! Daisy was adopted from our local SPCA when she was a year-and-a-half old. It's hard to believe she is going to be 14 next January. She was at the shelter for about three months. During this time, the staff took her visiting at one of the seniors' homes in town. After I adopted Daisy, I became interested in the idea of pets visiting at care facilities and hospitals, and we continued to see our friends for a few more years. Daisy has always been easy-going and 'laid back.' Jessie on the other hand has a Terrier disposition among all the blends that make up her little being! She, too, is a 'graduate' of our local SPCA. Her hobbies are chasing cats, birds, rabbits, and anything on wheels. Being about 8 years old hasn't slowed her down any. While Daisy snoozes, Jessie keeps us informed of all the 'goings on' in the neighbourhood from her perch on the sofa." Contributed by Barbara Cooper, Port Alberni, BC, Canada. September 2000.
Dax -- Makes a Beautiful Transition from Skinny and Stinky to Big, Sweet Baby
"This is Dax, a 10-year-old Lab/Rot mix (named after a 400-year-old character in Star Trek, The Next Generation). He was a rescue from Georgia, where he was pulled from the animal shelter a half hour before he was to be put to sleep. He stayed in Georgia at a kennel for about a month and a half before he could make his way to me in Indiana. I heard a few stories about him -- how one person saw his personality change from nice to mean (although it was when they were trying to get him into a Mercedes with another unaltered male), and another person said that we shouldn't have him here, since we have two young children and he couldn't be trusted, etc, etc. The moment I met the last leg of the transport and saw him -- dull black hair, skinny-skinny as could be, ticks all over him, and stinky, I knew he was going to be mine. He growled when you touched his hip area to try to help him into the car, he growled if you tried to pull on his collar to take him somewhere he didn't want to go....but, somehow, I knew things would be okay. He has been with us a few months now. His hair has gotten shiny, soft, and thick; he smells a lot better, and has no ticks or fleas. He is the sweetest, biggest baby. He sits on your foot, pushes up against you and rubs his head on you....all his way of showing affection. I have yet to see that personality change I was told about, and I know he would never bite one of us. He will sit by anyone who will pet him, and would stay there all day long if your hands didn't tire. He has also learned to live peacefully with the two young children of the residence and the other resident and rescue dogs. He is still a pretty spry fella at 10. Every so often he decides he wants to play and picks up the baby's stuffed animals and swings them around, though he never chews them up. He loves to go outside to trot around, smell things, and enjoy a sunny day. He is my first experience with a senior dog, and I know that, if it were his time to go tomorrow, I would miss him like I had him his whole 10 years. Having him has made me appreciate and enjoy so many more things in life as I realize that they, and I, aren't always going to be around. He has taught me to slow down, or stop, even, to take the time to enjoy the simple things in life. And especially things that would normally be irritating (such as my 2-year -old Lab/Pointer chewing up diapers and eating vaseline and baby bottles) should rather be a jovial moment because tomorrow might not come (and the things done in the present will be tomorrow's fond memories)." Contriburted by Kristi Simmons, Noblesville, IN. July 2002.
Dese, a Whippet, Is 15 1/2 Years Old
"This is Dese, a Whippet, (Kalayne's Deserie Delight). Dese is now 15 1/2 years and is a true joy. She was born in my bedroom on December 14, l985. Her dad was there watching his six puppies being born. There were three boys and three girls. Mama Tasha gave birth every 30 minutes. Dese was brought up with her brother Spot (Kalayne's See Spot Run). Spot passed away two years ago. Dese still loves to go for rides in the car and walks in the park. When I ask her if she wants to go with me, she grabs her leash and harness and we are ready to go. This is a photo of Dese in her favorite sitting position. I think she thinks she is a hood ornament." Contributed by Elayne. September 2001. Update, December 2001: Elayne wrote: "I would like you to know that my beloved Dese passed away at 16 years on Dec. 5, 2001."
Dillon -- Deaf and Blind at 15, but Still Loving and Giving
"Dillon has been with me for almost 15 years -- since he was weaned. He is now deaf and blind, and, although he was trained in obedience in both voice and sight, we have started to learn all over again. I tried to find books on how to train a blind dog. They all assumed he could hear. I was on my own. Now Dill walks confidently with me as long as I am on a leash. He likes to feel the tension of his harness against me holding the leash. He is confident now and enjoys contact with other animals. At home, he navigates flawlessly. There he is enthusiastic and incredibly aware of vibrations. When I shower, he is there by the tub. While I work at the kitchen table, he is still there next to me. While I cook, he is 'treasure hunting' for dropped morsels on the floor by my feet.
"It has become a little difficult for both of us. Dillon must be with me all day. He feels insecure and gets lost if I am not close by. Vet bills have become overwhelming -- about $3000 for surgery on his eyes due to glaucoma, $500 to remove a cancerous tumor, and about $100 a month for his medication for high blood pressure and Cushings.
"I wouldn't be here if it weren't for Dillon. He has been the catalyst that has enabled me to become successful, peaceful and fulfilled. I will keep Dillon comfortable and secure as long as he wants. I am more thankful than ever for every day we have together. I know that Dill is living on borrowed time. So what. Dillon is the best thing that has ever happened to my life. He's here, with me, as long as he wants to be. He still enjoys spending the day with me on my sailboat, likes to walk in the forest, and waits contentedly in my van while I ski. Dillon's body may quit before mine, but he will live as long as I do." Contributed by Geoff, Incline Village, Lake Tahoe, NV. May 1999.
Dinky, a Family's First Senior Adoption -- and the Best!
"A red smooth standard Dachshund, Dinky was almost 13 when we got her. She was our family's first senior adoption and the best! The day that I picked her up from rescue and drove her home, the poor old girl had been in a crate for a long time, due to the distance I had to travel and my getting lost on the journey. It was late when we arrived at the house, and poor Dinky spent the entire first night pacing out of confusion and pain from her arthritis. I decided then and there that she would never be crated again. The next morning, she met the family. My son Henry immediately took to Dinky and she to him. From then on, Dinky slept at night in her bed on the floor in front of the TV, and Henry slept on the floor with her so that she wouldn't be alone. My other two adoptees -- two two-year-old males -- allowed Dinky to be the 'boss dog,' and she got to do everything first, thanks to them. Henry would feed her first, a handful at a time from her bowl, and she was the first one he talked to in the morning and the first dog he greeted when he came in from school. Each day, Dinky would wait by the door for him until he came home. She was a wonderful dog -- good natured and loving -- loving toward Henry, especially. We knew her time with us was limited, but we didnt think it would be so short. On her last day with us, nothing seemed amiss: she got up, ate, saw Henry off to school....then died in my arms, just before he was due home. Henry is devastated, but he also realizes we made the best of the time we had with her. He is now in the process of adopting another senior. He says Dinky would have wanted it that way. Dinky lies in the pine grove at my parents' house in the country with a marker Henry made that says simply, 'The Great Dinky -- You will never be forgotten.' We still see her, just for a brief, fleeting second, sitting in her favorite spots in the house. And, if we listen carefully, we might even hear a bark or two. I like to believe that she is blessing our choice to give another senior a loving home and a boy who will provide love for that dog's remaining time on this earth, however long it may be. Dinky was part of our lives so briefly, but she changed us all so much. To Dinky at the bridge -- We hear ya darlin', and we love you . We will try to do you proud." Contributed by Lin and Henry. October 1999.
Two Seniors -- Dolly, 17 & Joey, 15 -- Are a Couple of Pampered Pooches
"My husband, Mike, and I are the proud parents of TWO Senior Dogs. Dolly is our Lhasa Apso, a registered purebred. She will be 17 on April 29, 2000. She goes for a walk daily and still maintains the attitude of superiority associated with Lhasas. She goes to her groomer, Sandy at Tattle Tales, weekly for a massage, bath, and grooming. She loves to have colored ribbons put in her hair. She survives with the aid of the miracle drug, Imuran, after a mysterious, almost fatal illness five years ago. Joey is our All-American mutt. He will be 15 in September 2000. He is in excellent health, having only a few fatty tumors. He wants only to be loved and have a companion with him at all times." Contributed by Maryanne Robertson. April 2000.
Donald, the Bilingual 15-Year-Old
"Donald is my 15-year-old mongrel dog. Donald and I are from Scotland, although we live in London now. When we first got to London, about seven years ago, Donald, who is normally very well behaved, wouldn't obey anyone but me. Eventually we realised that it was because I had always spoken to him in Scots dialect, and he couldn't understand English people. It didn't take him long to learn, however; he's always been very intelligent. He is now a totally bilingual dog. I got Donald when I was 18 and living in a shared flat. One of my flatmates had a pregnant bitch called Tammy. Tammy gave birth to seven beautiful puppies and I adopted Donald. Not many people know exactly when their dog's birthday is, but I was there when Donald was born, on 16 November 1982. Donald and I have been together ever since. Donald comes from a long line of mongrels. Both his parents had pure black coats, as did all the puppies in his litter except him. Donald became mine because he was the only one we could tell apart from the rest of the pups. I lived in the same house as Tammy's owner until Donald was 9 months old, so he wasn't separated from his mother until he was quite grown up. I think that's one of the reasons he has always been a very good natured, friendly, and confident dog. Donald always loved swimming. We once went to the Inner Hebrides in Scotland where Donald tried to swim across the sea to Ireland! Donald used to love traveling by car, and I have taken him all over Scotland and England. These days, however, all he is really interested in is his dinner. He especially loves Indian food. Whenever I get a curry I have to make sure that I get extra so there are some leftovers for him. He sits and cries beside the table until he gets some. Donald is beginning to show his age. His eyesight is none too good and he is very deaf. He has problems with arthritis and can no longer manage stairs. But he is still very cute, as you can see from the photo." Update May 1998: "We had to put Donald to sleep two months ago. He was 15-and-a-half, and his health deteriorated badly over the couple of weeks before he died. The vet thought that he had cancer and felt that there wasn't much she could do. We didn't want him to suffer. Of course, I cried for days. We have a new dog now -- a dog we got from the local rescue centre. She's called Lottie and is a young dog. She's good company for our other dog, Tetley, who is only three. But I know there will never be another Donald." Contributed by Paul Kavanagh, London, England.
Doodah, Almost 11 -- A Perenniel Beauty and Wonderful Companion
"I would like to introduce you to Champion Jester's Jipeedeedoodah who will celebrate her 11th birthday around Christmas time. As you can see, she has retained her beauty through the years. This picture was taken in December 1996, when she was nine. Doodah came to live with me when she was three years old, having lived until that time with her breeder, Andrea Glassford. She walked into my house, surveyed all three floors, picked out the bed and said I could have the edge. Doodah has been the most wonderful companion imaginable -- she is loving, protective, always amusing. I have been very fortunate to have her share my life and home." Contributed by Kay Winter-Durennel, Woodbridge, VA.
Doris Sets the Standards for a Boarding Kennel
"I always wanted a dog, but, when I was younger, I was asthmatic and allergic to all animals except fish and sheep. Ten years ago, I moved from Los Angeles, CA, to Lopez Island, WA. I started working for a couple on the island, taking care of their home and their cat, horses, and chickens. I noticed at that point that being around the animals no longer seemed to bother my allergies. After forty-two years, I had begun to think that my dream of having a dog was probably not going to come true. But, on a whim, I went ahead and got Doris from the pound. She was a three-month-old puppy, and I thought it was possible I wouldn't be able to keep her, but I wanted to try.
"Ten years later, I can't believe I have a dog! Doris is with me 24 hours a day. The pound said she was a Beagle, but, at 93 pounds, she must be a Texas Beagle! What is even more unbelievable is that I now own a small dog-and-cat boarding kennel on the island. Doris has been my best advertising, as so many people know our story and how much Doris means to me. They know that, if I think something is good enough for Doris, it is going to be good enough for their own companion animals. My decisions about how to operate the kennel are always made by asking myself, 'Would I want to leave Doris here?'" Contributed by Ralph Blakey, Lopez Island, WA. October 2000.
Duchess...a Sweet, Old Grandma Dog....Celebrates Her 15th Birthday
"Who could make a better pal than a sweet, elderly Chocolate Lab? Duchess has been a part of our family for 13 years. She was whelped at our former next-door neighbor's house. We saw the ten little Lab pups in the next yard when they were first weaned. Who could resist? We were planning on getting a dog anyway, and the opportunity presented itself.
"Duchess has had the pleasure of having two little girls to play with--one who was eight when Duchess was brought home, and our youngest, who is four years old. When our youngest daughter was six months old, there was a summer thunderstorm one night. I heard the banging of our front storm door and went to investigate. I saw Duchess creeping back to the kitchen (where her bed is) and then went to check on our daughter in her crib. There, on the rug in front of the crib, was an oval warm spot where Duchess had laid down to protect our littlest one from the threatening noise.
"We couldn't have asked for a better canine family member than Duchess. At the ripe old age of 13, she's starting to slowly go downhill. Arthritis requires a daily aspirin regimen. Even though she still likes to chase a tennis ball, she is showing her age. Everything moves a little slower for Duchess. But we keep loving her, just as she loves us. Anyone who says dogs don't laugh or smile never had one." Contributed by Steve & Stephanie Sleeper, Omaha, NE. June 2001. Update February 19, 2002: "Our beloved Chocolate Lab, Duchess, just celebrated her 14th birthday on February 12. Our old "grandma" dog is doing just fine!" Update February 12, 2003: "We are celebrating Duchess' 15th birthday today. Though she may forget she's housetrained and be confused at times, she is getting along pretty well for an old girl. Rimadyl and a yummy diet of rice, bread, hamburger, egg and supplements keeps her going. We're thankful for every day we have with her." Update June 17, 2003: "Our much loved, very old Chocolate Lab Duchess was euthanized yesterday. Her body was failing, her spirit flagging and, though it was a difficult and most painful decision, we know we did the right thing for her. We were very fortunate to have 15+ years with a most wonderful, gentle pet. Our hearts go out to any other families that have to make this difficult decision, but know that you are doing the right thing. How blessed we are that God has made these lovable creatures to share our lives with us. Farewell dear friend...we'll meet again."
Duchess -- Still Loves to Chase a Ball
"This is our beloved dog, Duchess. She is 14 years old -- an English Springer Spaniel. I have had her since she was eight weeks old. We've always gone for long walks down by the river, as she loves to swim and chase a ball. She is slowing down now, and so we just go 'round the streets for a littlle walk. She has a heart problem, but it does not stop her -- she still loves to chase a ball. Our whole family loves her a great deal and always looks out for her, as she has problems seeing and hearing, but still loves to be out and about." Contributed by David Llewellyn, South Wales, UK. January 2003.
Dudley, Almost 13, Helper-Dog to a Blind Cat
Dudley is my very special friend -- a Black Lab-Pit Bull mix who will turn 13 on 1/1/2000. I have had him since he was five weeks old. He has been a 'Momma's boy' since Day One. My partner is a truck driver and frequently on the road; we met when Dudley was not quite a year old. Dudley seemed to know right away that, if 'Dad' was gone, he needed to protect 'Mom.' I have no doubt that, in his youth, Dudley would have protected me to the death. He is now graying a bit with age and is a little stiff in the mornings. I give him aspirin to help his discomfort and have him sleep on a cedar bed with a heater and a light in his room. When I first brought Dudley home, I had a 9-1/2-year-old cat named 'Thai' who was bound and determined not to let Dudley stay. In time, they grew to be great friends, but I didn't realize how close they had become until shortly before Thai's death at 15. She had glaucoma and was mostly blind. I hated letting her outside, but there was no keeping her in. I made it a habit to stay and watch her when she was out, but one day the phone rang, and I left her. I got off the phone as quickly as I could, but discovered I wasn't needed! Dudley was lying in the yard watching her do her 'business.' When she finished, she made a low mewing sound, and Dudley promptly got up and went to stand over her. She sniffed his feet on both sides, sniffed his nose, and headed directly to the steps. Clearly, Dudley had given her the cues she needed to find the steps to the porch! He had become her eyes in her final days. Recently, Dudley started going deaf and a little blind, so we rescued 'Annie' from the pound for him. She is a Rottweiller/Shepherd mix of about two years. They get along well, although she is a little rambunctious sometimes. Now that Dudley's eyesight and hearing are failing, she has become his eyes and ears. Often, he does not hear me, but Annie will. Dudley will sense her getting up and he'll watch to see where she is going. I am so happy I could do this for him, after what he did for Thai in her final years. I hope Dudley has many more years with us, as his parting will be very difficult to take. He is a very devoted, loving companion, and I will cherish our time together, always." Contributed by Andi Wise, Burns, OR. September 1999.
Duffy, Age 13, Gossips and Tap Dances
"This is Duffy, or 'Lady MacDuff' as her papers say. She was 13 in March. She's my foster Scot. Her mom is an older (quite wonderful) lady herself, and frequently needs to go to the hospital. That's when Duffy comes to live with me. I really look forward to her visits. She loves to gossip and can still do something that looks like a tap dance! She's still learning new things, too -- like how to manage the doggie door in our house. She's such a wonderful, little girl!" Contributed by Julie Phillips, Paragould, AR.