The Story of Gabby

"I had always known that some day I would lose my special friend -- that I would certainly outlive her. I also became aware that, as her health declined and she approached the age of 17, she was not going to make it easy for me. We adopted her as a puppy at our local Humane Society, when I convinced my husband that this Jack-Russell-look-alike would stay quite small. Thankfully, she never got heavier than twenty pounds. It would not have mattered what her size was, though; she won our hearts, and we were in it for the duration. We named her Gabby. Actually, she was extremely vocal, so the name was a perfect fit. Gabby came into our home as a second dog, but Ginger, our Beagle who was five years old at the time, was so easy to get along with that she relinquished the top dog position to Gabby. Gabby was never a dog who wanted to entertain us by learning tricks or doing things upon command. She preferred to do the teaching, and, before long, we all learned to do things her way -- such as sleeping no later than 6:40 a.m. and having her dinner in her dish at 5:00. We had a close call with Gabby when she was eleven. Suddenly one day she became very ill, so our daughter rushed her to the doctor. When Dr. Brodsky called me at work to tell me that it was serious enough to require exploratory surgery, I told him that we could not let her suffer. He assured me that if, during the surgery, he found a malignancy or something serious, he would not bring her out of the anesthetic. He would let her go. After the removal of a tumor and one kidney, he later called to say that we could pick her up in the morning. She made a full recovery, and, with nothing more than a special diet, she continued on with a normal life for six more years. Gabby's story came to a close last week; she was almost 18. The last few months, she was showing signs of beginning to slip away. She quit trying to go to her corner on the sofa, and instead would just curl up anywhere on the floor. With her fading vision, she seemed at times unable to see the house or find the steps to it. Until the end, though, she remained responsive to our touch and appreciated our continued loving attention. Two weeks ago, I finally gathered the courage to make her last appointment with her vet. We had always hoped she would go peacefully in her sleep, but she was a very strong-willed dog. I determined that I would not let her be alone and frightened when that time came, and she died in my arms, with me telling her through my tears what a wonderful friend she was, that I would remember her always, and that it was okay for her to go. Gabby was part of our family for almost eighteen years, and letting her go was heartbreaking. But pets leave you with a stronger sense of tolerance and patience, and teach you what unconditional love is truly all about. I am wondering if there is, in fact, an after-life, imagining how wonderful it would be to have the chance to be reunited with the companions who so unselfishly shared their entire lives with us. I hope so." Contributed by Kathleen Tezak, Bourbonnais, IL. December 1999.

Gaby, Age 8; Sebastian, Age 9 (Rescued at Age 3); Roy, Just Rescued at Age 11Gaby, Sebastian, Roy

"Each of my three senior dogs has quite a unique history. It seems, at times, as though history keeps repeating itself in the calamities that befall them. They are all a little accident-prone. Gaby, my sweet, Red Doberman who is now 8 (I've had her since she was a puppy), has torn the cruciate ligament in her knee twice. Her knee is actually completely rebuilt. Sebastian, my Shih Tzu whose age is estimated at about 9, was the second dog to become part of the family. I found him in September 1991 on Highway 101 in northern California, after he had been hit by a car. His stomach was torn open, he had a huge burr stuck in one of his eyes, and the pads on his feet were mutilated. Of course, there was no identification on him, and even after advertising in local newspapers, no one claimed him. It required five separate surgeries to put him back together. Shortly afterwards, he discovered an electrical cord to chew on and almost killed himself by electrocution. In his next escapade, he got flipped into the Pacific Ocean by a freak wave. I tried to rescue him and had almost given up hope, when a stranger dove into the water and saved him. Sebastian was unconscious, but I got him to the vet in time and he was resuscitated. Roy, a cross-bred Labrador/Hound whose age is estimated at about 11, joined the family in the spring of 1997. I found him lying in the doorway to my office in San Francisco, just about dead from injuries and dehydration. He did have some identification on him, and I traced the owner back to Indiana, but apparently he was not wanted back home. Maybe it's because he 'bays' loudly instead of barking. Anyway, I got him to the vet, and he cleaned up very nicely. Within a few weeks, though, he somehow managed to break his foot. They're all out of casts and bandages, now, and we haven't been back to the vet for any emergencies in the past few weeks. Maybe things will stay quiet for a while. I sure hope so!" Contributed by Ramsay Metcalf, San Francisco, CA.  

Sir Galahad and Lancelot

"Sir Galahad was the first pet I ever had and definitely the family favorite. He was loyal, protective, fun, intelligent.......everything you could want in a companion. We had to put him down when he was 15 years old, due to so many health problems; but, just before he went to the vet for the last time, he was smiling and radiant in all the pictures. I know it's what he be out of pain. Galahad was wonderful throughout all his years. Gentle with children and other animals, he was our friend and guardian. He never snapped at anyone, even when he was going blind and deaf and suffered from canine cognitive disorder. Maybe he couldn't remember things anymore and got stuck in corners a lot, but he became even more loving, if that is possible. He was always ready for a cuddle and made all our lives so much better. Thank you, Galahad, we miss you."

"Sir Lancelot is my 9-year-old Labrador mix. He lives with me in my apartment at college. We recently started to do agility training, and he is doing great! We do the things that are easy on his joints and are both have a blast. He is my near-constant companion when I drive and helps me feel safe being a female in a large city at night. He is always there to comfort me when I am sick or sad, and doesn't mind being hugged very hard or getting his fur soaked with tears. My worst days suddenly aren't so bad when I walk in the door to be greeted by soft, little licks from someone who is truly overjoyed to see me. He patiently waits to go for a walk until I wake up, whether it's at 5:00 a.m. or 2: 00 p.m. Lance may have a bit more white around the muzzle than other pups out there, but he's my boy and I thank the good Lord every day for bringing us together. My family was his fifth (and last!) home, when he came to us at six months of age. It took a while to temper his rambunctiousness, but now everywhere we go we get compliments on how calm and easygoing he is. People ask how I managed to get such a well-behaved dog. I just smile and say he's a great dog. Which he is." Contributed by Kelsey McNitt, Baton Rouge, LA. June 2001.

"Gator Bait" Had to Grow Up Fast -- and She Did, Surrounded by a Loving Family

"My dog's name is 'Gator Bait.' We call her 'G.B.' for short. She got her name because our house backs up to a wildlife reserve where a lot of alligators live. When we brought her home at nine weeks of age, my husband said to her, 'You had better hurry and grow up, or you will be 'gator bait around here.' My kids loved the name, so it stuck.

"Gator Bait is 1/2 Lab, 1/4 Border Collie and 1/4 Shepherd. She is 53 pounds. Sadly, she is now nearing the end of her life, and it will be like losing a family member. No creature could be loved more than she is. She is now 15 years old, which amazes her vet. She has arthritis, and, because of a pinched nerve, doesn't know when she is going to have a bowel movement. However, if she does something in the house, she immediately takes herself outside. We have to watch because she will do this, even if it is pouring-down rain. She is now deaf and lame, but she still wants to go for her walks. Instead of a mile or two, though, she'll walk about 1/4 mile. We treat her like the senior citizen she is and cherish each day we have with her.

"I do volunteer work with our local SPCA, so I have seen first-hand the people who will bring in an older animal just because it is no longer the cute, energetic puppy that it was. I have to wonder, if they treat a wonderful animal like this, how do they treat their senior relatives? I really enjoy this site...... if only we could get all pet owners to be as responsible as your readers obviously are." Contributed by Renee. May 2000. Update January 2002: "It is with a broken heart that I have to tell you that our lovely little girl left us at almost 17 years of age. She was a devoted companion up to the very end. There will never be a more loved or more appreciated dog."

Gigi, Supposedly a "Bad" Dog, Turns Out to Be "...the Best Dog I Have Ever Known"

"Gigi is our 15-year-old Doberman. She was rescued at one year of age from some folks would thought she was a 'bad' dog and uncontrollable. It's true she was headstrong and stubborn when we got her, but she was also deathly ill from heartworm disease and from glass and bottle caps in her stomach, which she had acquired by eating out of garbage cans. After we cleaned her up and took care of her health problems, she developed into the best dog we have ever had. She just needed a firm hand, lots of love and chew toys and a 'pack' to belong to.

"Gigi now lives and plays with Elvis, our conure bird; Babycakes, our fat cat; and Teena, our infant Rat Terrier (although these two are still adjusting to each other). Gigi and Elvis have always had a special relationship, she having 'mothered' him since we got him as a baby. She has always gotten along with other pets and loves to play with them.

"Gigi thinks she is a lap dog. When this big, old dog jumps up on your lap, you know it. My wife likes to paint Gigi's nails red on occasion, and she loves the attention. If you aren't petting Gigi, she will nudge you until you do. She is a wonder with children and has loved my granddaughter since she was an infant. Gigi also enjoys rides in the car, stuffed animals and long walks in the park. She doesn't get around as well as she used to, but the vet says she's still pretty healthy for a 15 year old. We will miss her terribly when she is gone. Gigi has been the best dog I have ever known." Contributed by Dave & Terry Worley. May 2000. Update: Dave Worley wrote: "Gigi passed away peacefully on August 28, 2001. Many of our friends commented on how rare it was to have a Doberman live for seventeen years. They just didn't know her like we did. She was such a strong-willed and stubborn dog that she might have gone on another year, but she would have been totally blind and in constant pain. She went peacefully in our loving arms, but with many of our tears. We miss her terribly; she is truly the best dog that has ever been part of our family. We love you, Gigi!"

Ginger and Dancer, Were Called "Too Old" and "Useless"

"Our first senior was Ginger, a purebred Cocker that ended up at our local, horrid pound. It was clear that Ginger was someone's pet -- she had just been groomed -- but she had gotten lost somehow with no identification. My husband saw her at the pound, in a cage way in the back. She was there to be euthanized. When he asked about her, they said she was unclaimed and was to be put down because of her age. They thought she was about ten. I went in to see her and said we would take her. Their comment: 'She's too old to go to a new home.' I said, 'Fine, we're old.......we'll take her.' (My husband and I are in our 50's.) They weren't going to let us have her; I had to beg the manager. What a wonderful girl Ginger turned out to be! And what a great addition to our home! Sadly, after two years, she had a stroke and we had to have her put to sleep. My husband and I both held her in our arms while she went to Heaven. There never was a sweeter girl.

"Our second senior, Dancer, used to be a show dog -- a Toy Manchester Terrier who had earned her owners many medals. Unfortunately, Dancer broke her tail and was unable to be shown any more. All attempts to breed her failed, and they considered her a useless feeder. She was neglected -- left in a cage without any attention. We found out about her through a rescue organization. We drove two hours to see her. What a mess.....and what horrid conditions she was in. The place was filthy! Not dirty, FILTHY.....Dancer had a fungus on her face and hadn't been spayed. The fungus took months to clear up, and we had to have 24 of her teeth pulled because they were in such deplorable condition. She also had a case of colitis that we had to cure -- but it was all worth it. Dancer was over 10 when we got her. Once we nursed her back to health, she turned out to be a wonderful, loving, happy baby. She's a ten-pound dog who takes up most of a king size bed. We've had her for over two years and she is the BEST dog. (The rest of our crew includes Molly, a terrier mix we got from the pound when she was 3, and two cats -- one was a stray and the other a rescue cat.)

"Older doggies are the sweet, loving and grateful to have a new home with people who love them. They do more for us than we do for them......truly. When we have room for another pet, we will get another senior. Our older babies keep us young." Contributed by Loni & Gene Corner, Piedmont, CA.

Ginger's Story
"Ginger is an English Staffordshire Bull Terrier. I love the breed. I've had them for over 30 years. Ginger came to me through the AKC's rescue service, a group that helps independent rescue organizations place animals. She is a purebred. When she came to me she weighed an unbelievably low 22 lbs. -- all because a vet had told the 'rescue service' she was overweight. My own vet examined her and figured she had about two more weeks at best before she died of organ failure. She was so thin, you could put your hands around her waist. A full size Staffie like Ginger should weigh about 48-50 lbs. My roommate and I took turns feeding her about every two hours -- a small handful of food at a time. It took nearly a year to get her to be a bit overweight. We had to deal with her psychological problems, as well. She was found with her guardian who had died three days beforehand, then starved at a rescue service. Now, with a new pup in the family to keep her active and interested, she's trimmed down nicely and is well adjusted. Older dogs are just wonderful, but I hope and pray no one ever has to deal with a situation like this again. Had I not been familiar with the breed and known how to get weight back on Ginger the correct way, I don't know if she would have survived. Both Ginger and PK, my neutered male, are registered service animals. Ginny passed with flying colors; PK had already passed his test long ago, but we brought him along so she wouldn't be scared. Once their Service Dog packs go on, they are all business. Now Ginger is, as they say in Staffordom, 'One Happy Staffie' (and, to me, older is better)." Contributed by Nanette Sheckler,Templeton, CA. December 2003.

Gingerbean, the "Last Little Sister," Abandoned at Birth, Is Now 14 Years Old

"In 1984, a box of puppies containing four little sisters was left behind a shopping center in a small town in New York State. The tiny creatures were rescued by a dog shelter and were adopted -- except for the last remaining one. This little puppy had a strange habit: chewing rocks in the shelter yard. One day, a kindly family who wanted to adopt a pet for their nine-year-old daughter visited the shelter and came upon the last little sister. She was beautiful with her red coat and freckled nose. The family called to the puppy, whistled and snapped their fingers, trying to get her attention. She wasn't interested in anything except chewing on the rocks. But the family couldn't resist her serious expression and almond-shaped eyes. And so the little girl bundled up her new pet and took her home. They decided to call her 'Ginger Bean,' and she soon settled nicely into her new home. Through the years, she would still be a bit aloof and independent, but also gentle, patient and funny -- chasing leaves, licking children, collecting the family's socks when they weren't looking, barking at the mailman, blowing bubbles in her water dish, smelling flowers (and then sneezing). She was a wonderful pet for the little girl. Ginger Bean will be 14 years old in July. The little girl who carried her from the shelter and the children who first welcomed her to the neighborhood have all grown up and moved away. Ginger would rather watch leaves blowing around from a sunny sport on the porch than chase them now, and her sock collection is not as carefully protected. But her warning barks to the mailman are as loud as ever. People still interrupt our walks with her to comment on how pretty she is. The one activity that disappeared early in Ginger's life and never re-appeared was rock chewing. She's confined her chewing to bones and 'treats' (her favorite word, and one that always gets her attention). Ginger Bean's photo was taken on April 25, 1998, in her front yard. You can see that the 'last little sister' is living happily ever after." Contributed by Theresa DiFede, Highland Mills, NY.

Goldie, Age 14, Just a Little Spoiled

December 1999 update to original story contributed in 1998: "Goldie is almost 14 years old now, and she is having progressive difficulty with her legs being weak from time to time, but she is still such a love! I have had her since she was a five-week-old pup. Although she suffers from arthritis, Goldie, at 12 years, didn't realize how old she was. If she had, she probably wouldn't have run out to the gate every time a truck or a mailman went by. She gets supplements and medication for her arthritis, and, for her general health, we feed her good home cooking. We prepare rice, pasta, or potatoes, and combine that with vegetables like broccoli and carrots, and then add chicken, tuna, beef, or cheese. She was 75 pounds and needed to lose some weight before we started this regimen. She's done very well on it, and never turns up her nose at anything we offer her. Although she gets three meals a day, we control the calories. For treats, we bake cheese biscuits -- small ones! Next to home cooking, her favorite things on earth are tennis balls. She's always loved them. Goldie has a plush baby blanket to lie on, under which we've put some nice, thick, synthetic fleece bedding. We've also just bought a couple of bags of sand (which is very cooling to older dogs), and spread it just in front of the deck, and now, she can lie there to cool off. When she does, we say, 'Goldie's on the beach.' Yes, she is spoiled; but she is a wonderful companion and gives her love unconditionally." Contributed by Vernon Griffin, Fayetteville, NC. December 1999. Updated April 2000.

October 15, 2000 Update: "We lost our Goldie Friday morning, the 13th of October 2000. She went to sleep at home. She had just turned 14 on August 7 of this year. How we loved her! And, if we could love each other the way Goldie loved her favorite human, it would be a wonderful world. Her greatest happiness was just to be near him, and to be able to look over at him and make sure he was there on the couch. We miss her so very much." (Contributed by Barbara Griffin, Lake City, FL. October 2000)




Amazing Grace

"When I first told my husband that I wanted to add a blind, nine-year-old dog to our family, he was skeptical. When he found out that the dog was in Florida (we live in Missouri) and was blind due to horrific abuse, he was speechless. With the help of Lighthouse Animal Sanctuary in Florida, Heart Bandits American Eskimo Rescue, and American Eskimo Rescue of St. Louis, Grace was transported to us on an 'Eskie Railroad.' The minute my husband met her, it was true love. Within days, my cautious husband was teaching Grace to walk on a leash and helping her maneuver the house and adjust to her canine siblings. A year later, Grace is very much the apple of his eye and an amazing ambassador for senior rescue dogs. Grace had been severely beaten before she was rescued and, because of the trauma to her head, she developped glaucoma and needed to have both eyes removed. She also has permanent tracheal damage that causes her to cough, and broken ribs that were never treated. Everyone who meets her is amazed that she is such a loving, well-adjusted girl. Grace is patient with everyone who stops to pet and hug her and is a favorite at the vet's office. Many people have told me that they feel it isn't possible to bond with a senior dog in the same way that you can bond with a puppy. These people have never met Gracie; we could not be more blessed, lucky or happy! Because of Grace, I would not hesitate to adopt another senior or special needs dog. As a volunteer with American Eskimo Rescue of St. Louis, I am always surprised at how many people want puppies; never again would I want to go through the teething and potty training. Thank you for spreading the message of what wonderful pets the more mature dogs can be." Contributed by Tom and Sara Zirbas. St. Louis, MO. April 2002.

Grandma -- A Story about Adopting an Old Dog with a Terminal Illness
The story of Boxer "Grandma" by Kate Connick, originally cited in our October 2001 newsletter, is posted in its entirety on her Courteous Canines site. Following is an excerpt from this beautiful and inspiring story:

. . . "Although she initially gained weight, grew hair, and developed more energy and spark, she began to fail almost two months after I'd adopted her. I took her to the park one last time, but she was too weak to take a run. She took a walk on unsteady legs, snarfed down meatballs, and I said my teary goodbyes. I took her to the vet for the last time on the day before my 31st birthday.

"I don't think I've ever been so emotional about a dog's death. Often one can find comfort in the long and good life that's been shared between a dog and oneself. Even though it was inevitable that Grandma wouldn't live for long, her death came too soon. She was a wonderful dog, and I wanted more.

"That being said, I'd do it all over again. I didn't keep this dog simply out of pity. Grandma Boxer enriched my life at least as much as I did hers. I look now into the wide eyes and grey face of my oldest Boxer. I don't love him in spite of his age and infirmaties. Rather, he's dear to me because of them. We share a history that makes him very much a part of me in a way that Grandma was, no doubt, a part of her original family. Even though they weren't able to see her through to the end of her days, I'm glad that I was. I hope that anyone who has ever had to give up an older dog will take comfort in this tale. And I hope that somehow I've inspired someone somewhere to at least consider adding an old, ill, or otherwise less adoptable dog to their home." Contributed by Kate Connick. Ardsley, NY. October 2001.

A Pair of "Get-up-and-go" Senior Beagles, Greta and Ellie

"Greta and Ellie joined our family in 1987, after they were abandoned on a porch in rural Indiana at the age of 12 weeks. Now 12-1/2 years old, they have lived in three states, competed in obedience and agility, tried tracking, done a lot of hiking and swimming -- and best of all, they're STILL doing most of those things! Still slim and active, Greta and Ellie compete in AKC and USDAA agility and are very successful. They are both running at the Excellent level in AKC, which they enjoy a great deal. Over the years, Greta and Ellie have been everywhere with us. They've weathered the arrivals of a new baby brother (Becket, the precocious and obnoxious Airedale) and two sisters (All-Americans Emma and Sophie) without ever giving an inch. They live amicably with indoor cats and house rabbits (well, amicably except when food is involved -- Greta and Megan the bunny once got into a fight over a carrot and Greta lost). Although they haven't slowed down much, we're finally starting to see a few signs of aging. It's bittersweet, I guess -- you're sad to see it happening, but at the same time, they're due for a little R&R after a lifetime of get-up-and-go. So far, though, they're both very healthy, and we do our best to keep them that way. They do love being couch potatoes (but they always have), and they like nothing better than snuggling up with us and the other dogs in bed. They're truly the most wonderful gifts we ever gave each other." Contribured by Elizabeth TeSelle and Marc Mazzone, Nashville, TN. May 1999.

"Ambassador" Guinness

"Guinness is a 14 1/2-year-old Lab who retains the love and enthusiasm for life and people that is so characteristic of the breed. We have had him since we chose him from a litter of twelve when he was 7 weeks old. He has traveled with us, including living in Tokyo for four years in a city apartment. He made many friends in a city of people unused to seeing large dogs, and helped us to meet our neighbors through the universal language of animal-lovers. A few months ago he lost his friend and playmate, cat Molly, who passed away at 15 1/2, but he seems to have recovered from this loss and is still his playful self, if somewhat slower. We are thankful to have such a good old friend." Contributed by Sharon Taylor, February 2001.

Gus, A "Brilliant Boy," Adopted at 9, Now 14Gus

"I adopted my Miniature Poodle Gus from our local shelter when he was nine years old. In his original home, he was 'the kids' dog,' and, when the kids went to college, he wasn't wanted anymore. Those kids' loss was my gain. Gus didn't look like much at first. His coat was poor and his eyes were goopy. His teeth needed cleaning, and he was pretty depressed after losing his family and spending three weeks at the shelter. A healthy diet, regular moderate exercise, and immoderate amounts of TLC turned him around. Today everyone who meets him comments on his good looks, and most people are amazed when I mention he's eleven. After he had adjusted to the move to our family, Gus and I started obedience training. Initially I just wanted to be completely confident that he would come when I called so I could let him off the leash on walks in the woods. I quickly discovered just how brilliant my boy is, and how much he loves the training game. He's a very willing worker and will do absolutely anything for me. I've never needed to punish or correct him at all. When I get out 'the doggy school bag,' his eyes light up and he rushes for the door. So much for not teaching an old dog new tricks. Gus is the light of my life. No dog could be more loving or loyal. He has always been a perfect gentleman to my two cats, and has never had an accident in the house or chewed up anything. I'm so glad I didn't choose a puppy!" Contributed by Elizabeth Glew, Lansing, MI

Update, December 2000: "Gus is now 14 and still the apple of my eye. He is retired from obedience training and showing because his hearing and vision are not so good any more. He has graciously welcomed two other dogs into the family, but he will always be #1 to me. His favorite things (besides food) are short walks, bubble baths, and cuddling on the sofa. We expect to have him with us for several more wonderful years."

Update, September 13, 2001: "Gus died peacefully at home today of cancer. He had outlived all his doctors' predictions by months, and enjoyed life up to his very last day. He was 15 1/2. Although our six years with him were far too short, I know I would feel the same if we had had him since birth. It's always too soon to lose a dearly loved companion. We recently adopted another senior dog, 7 1/2 year old Dancer, and are looking forward to many happy times with him." Contributed by Elizabeth Glew, Lansing, MI

Gype, Elsa, Mona: Seniors Rescued by the Silver Springs, Nevada, Spay-Neuter Project

Gype, age 13, with new mom, Irene

Elsa, age 11
Mona, age 12, with Lee Blomquist, Director of the Silver Springs Spay-Neuter Project
(5-year-old Violett in the background)

Elsa and Gype were left homeless when their owner had a stroke and could no longer care for them. At ages 11 and 13, no one wanted them. Irene, a friend of their owner, said she would take them in if we could install a doghouse for them. We purchased a large storage barn, had it painted and insulated, and moved the furniture from their old house into the barn. Last report is that the dogs live in Irene's house and don't use the 'dogmahal' at all. Mona was 10 years old when she supposedly killed a chicken. At least, that was the story we heard from the family who had just coincidentally gotten a new puppy. Animal Control was going to euthanize her because of her age, but we said no and took her to live at our house, where she's been for two years. She used to visit the homebound and institutionalized seniors, but she's retired now. She is happily installed as our dog and will be with us the rest of her days." Contributed by Lee Blomquist, Silver Springs, NV. Update, February 13, 2001: Elsa went to the Rainbow Bridge today, but Gype and Mona are still going strong. Update, February 19, 2002: Gype made her way to the Rainbow Bridge last year. Mona is still going strong at 16, although she suffers from hypothyroidism and an enlarged heart and is on medication for both.

Chelsea, Tippy: More Seniors Saved by the Silver Springs, Nevada, Spay/Neuter Project
Chelsea was dumped at the pound when she was10 years old. She is now 16 and still healthy. February 2002. Tippy is 18, and was orphaned when her owner died 4 years ago. She was diagnosed with diabetes almost 4 years ago. She just had blood work done and is wonderfully healthy for her age and considering that she has diabetes. We hope we have her around for many more years. February 2002.

Gypsy, the "Geriatric Wonder Beagle" -- Saved from Euthanasia at 17

"If anybody has any doubts about adopting a senior dog, they can contact us. We bought an old house last year. The owner had died at age 87. She had two dogs: one was put to sleep shortly after she passed away; the other, Gypsy, had a serious stroke almost immediately afterwards. When we asked what was going to happen to Gypsy after we signed the contract to buy the house, our lawyer said, 'She's 17 years old and she's sick. They'll probably just put her down.' I said, 'Put it in the contract: we get Gypsy or we don't want the house.' Since then, Gypsy has recovered completely. She walks us at least three or four times a day. Although she spends most of her time sleeping, she is a spirited, stubborn, independent dog. We call her 'Gypsy the Geriatric Wonder Beagle.' Our vet says Gypsy is thriving, and should live for several more years. We certainly hope so." Contributed by Tony and Celine Seideman. March 2000.