Kayla, Age 8, Is Always Smiling

Kayla

"Kayla is my pride and joy. I spend all day with her, which has made her more human-like than dog. She is always smiling, probably because she gets to play ball, frisbee, tug of war, and chase, AND she gets to steal my socks. She also loves to go swimming, boating, and for walks. She has every toy, but loves her balls, frisbees, and stuffed animals the most. People always tell me that when they die they want to come back to life as my dog." (Editor's note: We wonder why.) Contributed by Tami Dritz. Los Angeles, CA 

 


Nine-year-old Katie-Lynn Rewards Her Rescuers with Two Puppies

"I took my neighbor to the local SPCA to pick up a dog she was adopting. In the kennel with her new dog, there was also a little 9-year-old Dachshund, shivering and shaking. I felt my heartstrings going, but I left her there, as I already had five dogs at home. I went back a few days later to see whether anyone had adopted her. No, she was still there, shivering and shaking, but, again, I went home without her. A week or so passed, and I knew what would happen to her very soon if no one took her. I went into a panic thinking about it one day, so, right after work, I rushed to the shelter. She was still there! Now, picture this: the smallest of our five dogs is about 40 pounds. Nevertheless, I was determined to bring this 11-pounder home. During the first week we had her, we took her in for a teeth cleaning. She had to have eight teeth pulled and two tumors removed. We all settled in after that, and within another week or so Katie-Lynn seemed very comfortable. I noticed, though, that she was getting a little lazy. She wouldn't jump up on the couch and wanted to be carried upstairs at night. About three weeks after she came to live with us, I returned from work and was very alarmed to hear frantic barking coming from upstairs. I RAN up thinking something terrible had happened. What I found was my little 11-pound, 9-year-old, gray-haired, 'lazy' old lady lying in her bed with TWO PUPPIES. All I could say was "OH MY GOSH, OH MY GOSH!!!" (In the photo: Katie-Lynn with her two tiny puppies.) Contributed by Denise & Jim Gainer, Hampton, VA. February 1999

"Katie-Lynn" a Year Later -- A Shining Example of the Love and Adaptation of a Senior Dog

Last year, I wrote about the Dachshund we adopted from the local SPCA -- Katie-Lynn. Three weeks after we brought her home, she gave birth to two puppies. One of the puppies was too small and weak, and sadly did not make it. But Buddy Lee (Man-of-Action) did. We are not ones to ever give dogs away, so mother (Katie-Lynn) and son (Buddy Lee) are both with us. These two little miracles are getting along great. However, our life will never be the same. The way Katie settled in and adapted herself to us so comfortably amazes me. I still get chills whenever I think that someone might have just dumped her at the animal shelter. Jim and I have come to the conclusion that her previous guardian just got too old to take care of her. My precious little Katie insists on sitting on one of our laps at all times and is in my lap as I am typing about her, snoring happily. Buddy is a typical one-year-old little boy; he plays with everything within his reach. Katie has taken her place as the 'old-mother-hen' of the group, stepping in as referee when she thinks the older kids are playing too rough with her boy. Even though she is completely a daddy's girl, she insists on riding in my lap in the car. This isn't too terrible since it forces Jim to do the driving. This is how we traveled from the coast of Virginia to the suburbs of Chicago last summer -- Katie perched on a pillow on my lap, making sure we didn't get lost. For anyone thinking about adopting, we advise that you don't miss out on the opportunity and love these seniors have to offer." Contributed by Denise & Jim Gainer, Hampton, VA. March 2000.

Katy, Age 12, Goes with the Family -- or They Don't Go

"This picture of our dog, Katy, was taken at Good Harbor Beach, Gloucester, MA, in October 1998. She had just turned eleven. Ever since we adopted her from the Salem, MA, Animal Rescue League in November of 1987, she has been our constant companion and an equal partner in our family. She goes everywhere with us and, if she is not invited,then we don't go. As I write this, she is sitting beside me as if she knows what I'm doing.( She probably does.) I have grown up with dogs and must say that Katy is, by far, the most intelligent animal I have had the pleasure to know. Of course, her heritage has been lost. Our best guess as to her breed mix is half Border Collie and half Springer Spaniel. As my wife, Ruth, and I walk her, she tries to herd us together and is always trying to corral the other dogs she plays with on the beach or in the woods. She is friendly, but the older she gets the more assertive she is towards younger dogs who get in her space. Whenever someone comes to the house to visit, Katy has to get between us and take part in the conversation. This, too, is getting more apparent as she ages. Our friends sometimes find it annoying, but we have more tolerance than they do. She is starting to have a hard time climbing the stairs and jumping up on the bed, so I have to help her. But that is okay, too. I can't say enough about how this dog has become a part of our lives and made them better in an immeasurable way." Contributed by Mark and Ruth Steele, Salem, MA. February 1999. Update, January 3, 2001: "Last night my wife and I had to put Katy to sleep. We had the pleasure of her company for thirteen-and-a-half years. We will miss her and will always carry her in our hearts. Katy was a large part of our small family." Mark Steele.


Keesha Has High Self-esteem
"Keesha is the first dog I've ever had. I've always been a cat person; our family currently includes two felines, Tiger (a tabby) and Creampuff (a calico), also adopted as adults from humane societies. I adopted Keesha from the Broward County Humane Society in Fort Lauderdale, FL, where she was listed as a 'Keeshond mix.' I had just bought a house and, in my opinion, the whole purpose of owning a house is to be able to have a dog. Keesha's actually more of a Chow, and she's as close to a perfect dog as I'll ever have. She was allegedly four years old when I adopted her in December 1998, so she'd be seven or eight when this photo was taken. The vet thinks she's older. I work at home, so we're together all the time. We go to a field where she can run at least once a day and that keeps her from becoming overweight. Her breed doesn't fetch or chase toys, but she loves to play with people and other dogs. I'm very strict -- Keesha must work for treats, dog food is served once a day, and there's no sleeping on the bed. We practice sit, down and come-when-called, and we're still working on not-teasing-the-cats. I read somewhere that an obedient dog has high self-esteem -- and she certainly does! She's on my career consulting website and people often say they hire me because they like her photo." Contributed by Cathy Goodwin, Silver City, NM. July 2003.

Kenya Was Something to Think About

"Last year I adopted a 7 1/2 - 8-year-old Lab from a Cortland, NY, shelter. As an 'empty nester,' I wanted an older dog who would better fit into a fairly low-key household. I had already walked through the shelter and was getting ready to leave when one of the employees mentioned they had just brought in an older Lab. When I saw her, she was standing at the front of her kennel, looking up at me with very hopeful eyes, gray muzzle, and tail wagging so fast I'm suprised she wasn't airborne!! It was love at first sight. I then introduced her to my Rotti, who had been waiting in the car. She 'kissed' his muzzle and wagged her tail even faster. I filled out the adoption form but, while I was waiting for the shelter to check my references, my fiance pressured me to '....Think about it.... Why would you want to adopt a dog that old?'

"I left the shelter without her, and, I did as my fiance had suggested. I thought about it. In fact, I couldn't stop thinking about it. A week later I drove back to Cortland and adopted her.

"Kenya had been turned in by her former family. She had mothered many litters and was no longer considered useful after her last litter contracted parvo. At first, she was clearly confused and panicked when I wasn't with her. For the first couple of months, I couldn't leave her alone by an open window; she would rip the screen and jump out. I think she finally understands now that she is safe with me and that I will not leave her.

"Kenya loves everyone she meets but especially loves me. She loves riding in the car, loves taking walks, happily inserts herself when I try to do obedience work with my Rotti, greets everyone who walks past the fence, and makes sure I get 'kissed' everyday. Kenya and my Rotti are inseparable friends. And, did I mention, her tail never stops wagging!!! She is truly a special girl who has even won over the recalcitrant fiance. I cannot understand how anyone could have left her at that shelter, but I am so glad I found her." Contributed by Judy Sharp, Johnson City, NY. July 2003.


KiBear, a Chow Who Couldn't Have Loved More

"This is a picture of KiBear. We lost Ki on June 8, 1998. He made it to his tenth birthday on March 24. Ki loved to go fishing with us; in fact, he loved to go everywhere with us! He has left us with so many wonderful memories. I had always heard, 'Be careful with a Chow; they will turn on you.' That just isn't true! I don't know of any dog that could have loved us more than KiBear did. Goodbye, KiBear. Mama loves you." Contributed by Joan Bourgeois, Baton Rouge, LA


Killarney & Polo
Killarney, at 8, Won't Grow Up!
Killarney, age 8

"I got Killarney from the ASPCA mobile unit when she was eight weeks old. She is now eight years old, but, like 'Peter Pan,' she has a hard time growing up. She is most precious, with a delightful, winsome personality." Photo by Alathea S. Notes by Jane C. New York, NY. May 1997.

Polo at 13, Hears the Grass GrowPolo

"Polo is my 13-year-old Shih Tzu. He belonged to good friends who died of AIDS. Polo is part of a family that includes Killarney (photo above), a third dog, a cat, and a parakeet. Polo is lovable, loyal, and a superb watchdog. His age has not affected his senses at all; I think he hears the grass grow." Photo by Alathea S. Notes by Jane C. New York, NY. May 1997.


Two Seniors from Singapore -- Kim and Daffy

"This is a photo of my husband Herman and my two soon-to-be-14-year old girls. Kim, the white cross-breed, will be 14 in October and Daffy, an Australian Silky, is three months younger. They've given us such joy and love and loyalty; they are my life. I've quit a full-time job so that I can work from home and spend more time with them in their twilight years. Kim is still very healthy and loves to socialise with other dogs. Daffy is showing some signs of senility, but she's still going strong. They've grown up together since they were six months old and Kim is quite protective of Daffy. When we adopted a third dog (Lea, a rescued dog), Lea tended to bully Daffy. Kim would scold her for doing that! Kim is so clever and affectionate, and, although Daffy keeps to herself and sleeps a lot now, she always comes to me when I call her. I love them both very much. My husband says I love them more than I love him (he's also a dog lover so he understands). I was glad to glean from so many stories on this site, that old dogs can still have so much future ahead of them." Contributed by Kityin Phua, Singapore. August 2001.

Update August 2002: "Kim passed away in February, after a long brave fight with cancer. She endured two blood transfusions and 24-hour IVs for two weeks without any complaint or whimper. But her blood ran out and we couldn't bring ourselves to prolong her pain. Daffy misses her and has since become more withdrawn and senile, but she still gives us love and joy. They have been great blessings from God."


Kip is 19 Years Old!

"This is Kip, a 19-year-old Welsh-Collie cross (not photogenic, I fear!). She has been with me since a puppy. She is still fit and well and can manage two- mile walks and an energetic game with younger dogs. She has a few small skin growths which don't seem to bother her and is half deaf, but answers to a clap or a shout (if she feels inclined!). She gets dafter with age but is still a loving and much-loved companion." Contributed by Peter M Cowan, near Lincoln, Lincolnshire, England. February 1999.

Kirby, Adopted at 7, Now 9 Years Old, Begs to Have His Teeth Brushed

Kirby"Kirby was a stray picked up in 1995 by the Columbia/Green Humane Society's shelter in upstate New York. We first saw him in an outdoor exercise kennel. A big, red dog with a slowly wagging tail, he calmly walked over to us and placed one paw up on the fence in a friendly greeting. We were immediately drawn to him. We took him for a long walk, and he behaved perfectly. He had passed the shelter's 'cat test' with flying colors, so we knew he'd get along with our own two cats. Although we had hoped for a dog who was two or three years old, when we found out he was about seven, that didn't seem very important. The consensus is that Kirby is a Viszla/Lab mix (I call him my Viszlab). He is a bit silly, but he is naturally a well-behaved dog (okay, 95% of the time). He begs to have his teeth brushed. Although he's about nine now, you'd never know it. He runs and plays like a pup, hunts for mice in the barn, accompanies my horse and me on trail rides, and is our cats' best friend. Last summer we fostered dogs for a local rescue group, and Kirby was an excellent host dog. In adopting Kirby, we knew that it meant we'd have fewer years with him than with a younger dog. But the tradeoff is the deep satisfaction of knowing that we probably saved the life of this very affectionate, very funny, very dear dog." Contributed by Sally and Karl Lampson, Valatie, NY.

Update, August 2004: "I thought you might be interested in an update on Kirby -- our dog that we adopted in 1995. When we brought Kirby home, the shelter told us that their vet had estimated his age to be around five or six years old. I remember thinking that, if we were lucky, we might have him for as long as five or six years. That was nine years ago..... Although he has slowed down somewhat, and his hearing and vision aren't quite what they used to be, Kirby still runs and plays, chases cats for fun, and loudly notifies us of anyone walking past our house. And yes, he still likes to have his teeth brushed." Contributed by Sally Lampson, Valatie, NY. August 2004.

Update, August 2008: "I would like to give you a second update on our amazing dog, Kirby. When we adopted Kirby in 1995, the shelter vet estimated him to be about five or six years old. We never imagined that thirteen years later he would still be with us! Kirby disproved the number one concern of many adopting a senior dog -- that he or she won't be with you for very long. Kirby passed away peacefully in August of 2008; our vet estimated his age to be somewhere around 17 or 18." Contributed by Sally Lampson, Valatie, NY. November 2008.


"Kitzybear" -- An Iron Curtain Survivor and Bearer of Good Fortune

"My almost-12-year-old dog, Kitzy (pronounced 'Keetsie'), and I came to the United States from Romania five years ago, after a long period of grief, hope and suffering, which we survived together. I found her on the streets of my home town, Brasov, during the 1989 fall of the Iron Curtain. She was tired, beaten, scared, and I knew then that I had found my very soul. She has been alongside me throughout the traumas of my life. I have been on the edge of losing her several times to various health problems, but she continues to be my anchor and my lucky star. I have associated her existence to many of my fortunate turns of destiny. I will always love my dog and be grateful to her for the sunshine she has brought in my life." Contributed by Monika Bereczky, Mableton, GA. June 1999. (Update: June 20, 2000 -- "I was with Kitzy today when she had to be put to sleep. Kitzy lived almost 13 years (10 and 1/2 since I had her) and will live in my heart forever. I have doubts of not having done everything humanly possible for her, but I would like to thank everybody who prayed for her. She has now crossed the Bridge. We will take one day at a time and hope that someday the pain and sorrow will be replaced by peace in our hearts. I know that, in the future, another soul will find me and continue my mission interrupted by Kitzy's loss. I feel and care for all the lost and abandoned animals. With each experience, I learn that we are the ones who need our animals more than they need us. They are a precious, irreplaceable gift from God.")

Autumn Sun: a Story Inspired by "Kodie"

"In quiet moments, I find myself pausing, just to look at Kodie. The telltale white of age defines his muzzle more clearly each day. Sleep has edged its way in as the number one priority. Sometimes, when he sleeps so very soundly, I can't look away until I see the familiar rise and fall of his great chest, until I reassure myself that he is, in fact, breathing. All things considered, Kodie has matured gracefully.

"Being classed by his size as a giant breed goes hand in hand with aging faster than small dogs. Some giant breeds show their age in as few as seven years. Kodie recently turned twelve. At Valley Veterinary Clinic, he's a legend. They've seen him through ills and injuries over the years. He's had at least his share of 'bumps in the road,' but he's handled them all with a pleasant attitude and patience. Last month, on the fringes of healing up from his cruciate ligament surgery, he became ill and fretful and was in pain. The clinic politely squeezed him into their busy Saturday schedule. Poor Kodie barely had a five o'clock shadow on his last surgical shave area. During his exam and treatment, I mentioned that Monday would be his twelfth birthday. Clearly Kodie had carved his own place in the hearts of his friends at the clinic. Almost before I could say 'thank you,' Monday's schedule was arranged. Kodie would come back for a recheck and a birthday bath, courtesy of his clinic pals. When a new assistant helped me take Kodie to the car, she kept saying how special he is, how kind and sweet to work with. That's Kodie, all right.

"He was more comfortable over the weekend, and Monday's recheck gave a good prognosis. When I went to pick him up after his birthday bath, I couldn't believe my eyes. He was led into the lobby wearing two new bandannas around his neck -- one bright teal with cowboy boots on it, and the other a red and white Science Diet bandana, with messages taped all over it: 'Way to go Kodie,' 'Happy B-Day,' 'We Love You, Kodie,' and on and on. I didn't know whether to cry or giggle when two cards and a birthday box came out of hiding. The cards were filled with affectionate words. The box was filled with favorite dog treats and plenty of things to keep Kodie smelling fresh at home -- fragrant mousse, waterless shampoo, even spray cologne (Kennel No. 5).

"More patients came into the lobby, so it was time to head for home and let everybody get back to business. On the way to the car, memories jockeyed for position. I realized it isn't typical for a canine always to be escorted from clinic to car by two or more people. It isn't typical for a dog to spark so many phone calls from vets and support staff, 'just checking' on the old guy. It isn't typical for a huge dog to be so kind in the midst of his own sickness and pain. But then, Kodie isn't typical.

"What do we do when our loving pets face the last leg of the race? We do all we can to help them finish well, of course. We take time to read the unspoken needs of the friends we've come to know so well. We give the simple reassurance of a loving touch when the old boy seems confused for no reason. We groom them faithfully, but more gently, as age brings muscle wasting, and the arthritic bones aren't so well padded. We learn to slow down for their sake, as they enjoy the scent of the wind, or track a visitors trail across their yard. We expect to be inconvenienced, and aren't angry when it happens. We watch for pain and treat it, watch for changes in vision and hearing and do what we can to help preserve those precious senses for as long as possible. We take care of their teeth, and make sure their food is a manageable texture for them. We remind them of the need for a potty walk when they seem to forget. We remember the little rewards. We scratch the graying ears and tummy, and go for car rides together. When the pet we love has an unexplained need for comfort, we give it freely. When infirmities bring a sense of vulnerability, we become our old guardian's protector. We watch their deepest slumbers, when dreams take them running across long-forgotten fields, and we remember those fields, too. When they cannot stand alone, we lift them. When their steps are uncertain, we steady them. And, if their health fails, it falls to us to make the choice that will gently put them to rest.

"But, until that is absolutely necessary, we pause to let the autumn sun warm our old friend's bones. And we realize autumn is not a bad time of year at all. Old age is not a disease, or a reason to give up. It is a stage of life that brings its own changes. Autumn can be a beautiful time of harvest. And, sometimes, the harvest is love." Contributed by Christy Caballero, April 2000.


Lady -- Full of Love and Appreciation
"A little over a year ago I was looking for a companion. My heart went out to all the dogs I considered in the three shelters I visited, but I made a conscious decision to adopt an older dog. I believe that older dogs are so full of love and appreciation for a forever home. I walked into the shelter and, among all the barking and excited dogs, there was Lady standing in her cubicle just looking up at me with those beautiful eyes and wagging her tail. She appeared to be waiting her turn. I knew the moment I saw her that she was meant for me and I for her. She was a special needs adoption. She had been a cruelty case. Her prior 'guardian' had fed her alcohol and very little else. He had abused her in many ways. She was under weight and in need of lots of love and attention. She requires seizure meds for the rest of her life. She was scheduled to be put down later that day. No way could I let that happen. Today she is at the top of her weight range, doesn't hide when people come around, plays, and gives and accepts affection. She is my miracle girl and I love her with all my heart. She is ten years old, a tri-color Beagle mix. I am her proud mommy. I can't imagine not adopting an older dog; they have so much to offer and are full of life." Contributed by Kimberly Johnson, LaPorte, IN, December 2003.

LadyWise and LadyG
"LadyWise is a 15-year-old tri-color Shepherd/Corgi/Husky mix. She was my husband's parents' dog until they moved to Florida; then my husband took her in. She has really bad knees, hips, and shoulders and is on medication for arthritis. She also has had several surgeries, including repair of both anterior cruciate ligaments and an emergency operation for stomach torsion and bloat. She has bounced back from them like a champ. LadyWise spends most of her days sleeping now, especially in front of the wood stove. And, even though she may be in pain from arthritis, she still loves her tennis balls and will chase them for as long as you will throw them."

"LadyG is an 11- year-old Black Lab/Border Collie mix whom I adopted when she was a puppy from our local shelter, before I met my husband. She's a great dog with kids, though she does tend to herd them. The first time she met my husband's then-seven-year-old daughter Casey, she crawled into bed with her and wouldn't leave her side. LadyG's favorite thing is to run through our pond and woods in the spring and get all nice and muddy; we affectionately call her 'swamp dog.' " Contributed by Michelle Wise, Rochester, NY. March 2004.

On November 25, 2005, Michelle Wise wrote: "LadyWise gradually declined and even with new medications the arthritis in her hips gradually caused her to no longer be able to walk or control her bodily functions. We sadly had to let her go in January 2005 at age 16. LadyG developed an odd cough and severe panting during our unusually warm summer in NY. After much testing it was found she had two defective valves in her heart causing it to fail. Supportive care gave us an extra few of weeks with her and allowed us to take her to our cabin one last time before she passed quietly away in September 2005 at age 13. She even chased a deer on that trip! The house seems so quiet now with just a 6-yr old poodle and a 17-yr old cat..."



Larry Touched Our Lives
"About a two years ago, my husband came walking through the door after work with a wonderful, well-cared-for English Cocker Spaniel in tow. He told me that his mother had found the dog wandering around in their garage. As they live on a busy street in Phoenix, AZ, they took him in and gave him water and food. My husband knows me well, and assumed correctly that, since I am a lover of the breed, the dog would be staying with us until we found his family. We put up signs, placed an ad in the paper, called the local humane society and took him to the vet to check for a chip. No chip, no response from the newspaper or signs that were placed where he was found. This beautiful Cocker was deaf, had cataracts, two teeth, and like all Cockers loved to eat. We soon fell in love with him, named him Larry, and spoiled him rotten, knowing that his time was short on this earth. Our Golden Retriever and American Cocker accepted him, seeming to understand that he was older and not a threat to them. I have such fond memories of his escapades: somehow getting on the counter and dragging off a pizza with his two teeth (of course, he got a small piece, after it was taken away); getting excited over a spoonful of peanut butter; and all the ways he just wanted to be loved. Coming home from lunch one day (I am an RN and work in the area), I found him on the floor, breathing shallowly. Alarmed, I called my husband, and, while we were talking on the phone, this lovely creature died in my arms. We buried him in our yard near a tree. For some reason there are always flowers growing on his grave. After two years, I continue to think of him and how he touched our lives. He was a blessing." Contriburted by Cindi Gordon, Phoenix, AZ. December 2003.

Leila, 8 Years Old, a Much-Loved "Best Investment"

"We adopted Leila eight years ago as a nine-week-old puppy from our county's animal shelter. We often say adopting her was the best $25 we ever spent. She is a sweet, loving girl. She is especially fond of children and has on more than one occasion followed a stroller just to be able to give the occupant a kiss. Leila is a much-loved companion and friend." Contributed by Wanda Soto, North Lauderdale, FL. February 1999


Liberty Belle ("Libby") Rings In a Miracle
"Here's a photo of my dog Liberty Belle ("Libby") who today --July 31, 2003 -- is 13 years, 3 months, 3 weeks and 3 days old! The miracle of this is that she was diagnosed with terminal cancer almost sixteen months ago and given two weeks to live. Today, she's not only still alive, she's doing great!

"Libby was found wandering around downtown Hayward, California, on the 4th of July 1990, at the age of three months. I met her at the pound the next day, and adopted her immediately. She's been my best friend for 13 lucky years -- and counting.

"I noticed something wrong in April 2002, when she began swelling up with fluid in her abdomen. Shortly after that, she began vomiting and having diarrhea every day, and she lost her appetite. Soon, she was a pitiful skeleton with a distended abdomen containing eight pounds of fluid. I took her to the UC Davis VMTH, where she was diagnosed with a large tumor on her right adrenal gland. The veterinary oncologist told me there was no conventional treatment for her type of cancer and said these exact words to me: 'I wouldn't disagree with you if you wanted to euthanize her here today.'

"The accompanying picture was taken that day, June 6, 2002. Needless to say, I didn't take his advice! When we got home, I researched alternative treatments and started giving her ImmPower (from vitacost.com), Lactoferrin (from iherb.com) and Risotriene (from lifesolubles.com). She soon regained her appetite, lost most of the fluid in her abdomen, and stopped vomiting and having diarrhea. I'm not sure if the supplements are the reason or whether she just went into spontaneous remission. But regardless, I'm not going to stop giving her the supplements. I don't know what's going to happen in the future; I'm just grateful for every day that we have together." Contributed by Alexandra Dixon, San Francisco, CA. July 2003.

Update: May 2004: "My Liberty Belle is alive and well and actually celebrated her 14th birthday on April 7. She has lived more than two years with a diagnosis of advanced terminal cancer and a prognosis of death within a few weeks. Not only is she alive (and while I don't think she's cured), she has a really nice, bouncy gait, not arthritic, not the walk of an old dog at all. She loves to go for walks, and sometimes runs along just because she's so happy!"Contributed by Alexandra Dixon, San Francisco, CA.

Update: April 2006: "My dog Libby is turning sixteen on Friday, April 7, so we're having a Sweet Sixteen party for her on Sunday April 9. She's not doing that great, but I think she's doing well enough to enjoy the party and the attention. We had one for her in December because I was worried about her making it to the new year (she had another crisis in December), but I think Libby must be part cat, because she keeps pulling through crises that should have killed her, but didn't." Contributed by Alexandra Dixon, San Francisco, CA.


Little Lady, Still Going Strong at 18!

"We never intended to have three dogs named Lady, but that's how it worked out. When my husband and I started dating, we each had a dog named Lady -- his parents' Husky/Corgi and my Border Collie. One Saturday, while volunteering at our local Humane Society shelter, I saw a little black moppet in the admissions kennels. I peeked in and said, 'Hi, Sweetie,' and, underneath all the hair and mats, I saw a little black tail wagging like crazy at me. 'What's the story?' I wondered as I looked at the paperwork. It said she was a 13-year old Cock-a-poo named 'Lady,' who had been brought in for euthanasia because '.....she didn't get along with the new 10-week-old Rottweiler puppy.' Five years later, 'Little Lady' is still part of our family and still going strong. She has been a trooper through it all -- cataracts, dislocated hip, pyometria/emergency spay at age 17, and a variety of skin, ear, and eye infections -- and she is still always the first one to the back door to go outside for a walk. She knows she's the alpha dog -- she runs the house and still chases our cats. I will be so sad when the day comes to say goodbye. I just keep telling Little Lady that I'm glad she came to visit us for a while, and I've enjoyed every minute of it." Contributed by Michelle Wise. June 2000.
Little Lady, Still Going Strong at 20!

Update: March 2002 -- "Little Lady is still lying by the fireplace, chasing the cats, and ruling the house. She's still going strong at age 20! Somewhere along the line she must have gotten some very good genes! Our vet can't believe how old she is; she is his oldest patient." Contributed by Michelle Wise. March 2002.

Update: September 2002 -- "Our vet made a valiant effort last week to save her, but Little Lady's 20 years finally took their toll on her body. Her kidneys went into acute failure, and on Saturday night, August 31, Little Lady passed on quietly in her sleep at the vet hospital. I had stopped by to see her Friday morning before we had to go out of town so I gave her big hugs and kisses and told her I loved her. She was a very special dog. The house seems so quiet without her. Rest in peace, sweet girl...." Contributed by Michelle Wise. September 2002.


Lucilla "Sees" for Cleander, and He "Hears" for Her

"I visit the srdogs site from time to time. A few weeks ago, my heart skipped a beat when I saw our Lucilla (known as 'Misty' under your Delaware, Maryland & Washington, DC, ad page). I wanted to let you know that you have one more space for another ad and another story with a happy ending. My husband and I adopted Lucilla from the Washington Humane Society last May. She joined our other senior dog, Cleander, a blind chow mix also from the Washington Humane Society. The two of them are inseparable and the silliest dogs in Washington, DC. When we spotted Lucilla, she was hiding under a bench at the shelter and was clearly depressed. She broke our hearts, so we brought Cleander by to see if they would get along. It was love at first sight. They're the perfect couple, since she is his eyes and he, her ears. As it turns out, Lucilla is deaf. We thought that we were bringing home a quiet dog, but over time she has turned out to be anything but that. The two of them run the household and that's how we like it. I'm enclosing a photo of the two of them from last fall. We cannot begin to tell you how happy we are with them. Keep up the great work!" Contributed by Lydia. July 2002.

"Lucky" ...... Adopted from Cage #13

"Lucky left us last week at the ripe old age of 16+. He had been my best friend through my entire adult life, since graduating from college. I got him from cage 13 at the Oak Ridge (TN) Animal Shelter, thus his name. He had a wonderful life through his first 14 years, helping his friend Mikey, an Australian Shepherd who was born deaf, by being Mikey's ears. Unfortunately, when Lucky was 14 he had his first attack of 'old dog vestibular syndrome.' For the next two years, he was relatively normal, although his sense of balance was greatly diminished. He will always have a very special place in our hearts. In the photo, Lucky is almost 14 years old." Contributed by Robin Campbell, Greenback, TN. April 2000.


Lucky and Meagan Play "Sheet Attack"

"My dog was a stray. I adopted him. He is five years old in the photo, but now he is seven. His name is Lucky. He likes to play hide and seek and 'sheet attack,' which is a game in which he sits or lies down on a sheet, and I pick up a corner of it and pull it over him. He is a very nice dog." Contributed by Meagan, Naples, Italy. July 2000.

Lucy, Almost 7, a Stray Who Found Her New Home via the Internet

"Our dog, Lucy, was originally a stray. She had no ID, and her nails were very long, but she was healthy and shiny and friendly (though a bit possessive of her treats). We found her on the Internet in December 1997 through an ad that described her as a dog who got along with three German Shepherds and five cats, and who loved swimming and vegetables. When we first saw her -- all black and shiny, excited and wiggling all over -- she reminded us of a 'seal'; hence her name -- Lu'cille' -- 'Lucy,' for short. She seems to be a Black Lab, but might have a little Rottie in her somewhere. She's a real sweetie and an attention fiend. She'll let anyone pet her, preferring attention from people over attention from dogs. She likes kids but loves babies. She will lick tots' faces and try to play ball with them. She's even tried with a four-month-old baby, dropping the ball into his carrier and waiting for him to throw it for her. When I did the throwing, she returned the ball to the baby. They both loved it! Lucy almost never barks, but, when she does, it's deep and loud. Mostly, she communicates with her expressions and, when very excited, with yawning noises. She loves to swim in a little creek near our house, and will retrieve balls that we throw into the water. She fights sticks and huge logs into submission. She's become so good at playing 'hide and seek,' that we're running out of places to hide things. If she thinks she's going for a ride in the car, she'll skitter and jump around with excitement until it's time to leave. She's greying around the muzzle, on her chest, on her lower belly, and on the underside of her paws, but she isn't showing any signs of age-related problems. She'd had at least one set of pups before we got her, possibly more. Lucy is incredibly calm, hasn't had an accident once, hasn't chewed on anything we didn't give her to chew on or eat, and hasn't wrecked the house or gotten on the furniture. Really, she's a better dog than we could ever have expected. We sometimes joke that we'd never have a kid this well behaved. We're so happy with her, and, even though we don't know the exact day she was born, we will be celebrating Lucy's seventh birthday on December 27, the wonderful day we got her. Lucy has her own webpage, too!" Contributed by Arielle & Shawn Masters, Fairfax County, VA. 

Lucy and the Value of a Second Opinion

"My 12-year-old Golden Retriever, Lucy, had an 11.8-pound tumor, (that's no typo -- it was nearly 12 pounds!) removed in August. I first noticed a swelling in May 1999, and the vet who saw Lucy then diagnosed it as a fluid build-up in her chest. He prescribed a diuretic. Poor Lucy kept swelling up, but the vet insisted it was a fluid build-up. Finally, I got a second opinion from another vet (Dr. Terry Litsey of Litsey Animal Hospital, who is now Lucy's regular vet). Dr. Litsey said it was a tumor and operated to remove it two hours later. The benign tumor that had grown on Lucy's spleen was the largest tumor he had ever removed from a dog. He also said Lucy's was the largest incision he had ever made in a dog. I still kick myself for not seeking a second opinion sooner. Thankfully, Lucy has completely recovered and is back to chasing tennis balls. The photo shows Lucy on the left and her sister Sam (Samantha) on the right. (Sad to report that Sam died of cancer in early November.)" Contributed by Jim Stewart, Keller, TX. December 1999.