Wallis' Therapy Program Includes a Bagel at the Coffee Shop Each Morning

"Wallis, a female Bouvier, came into my life when I adopted her to be part of my family, which included Asterix, a younger male Bouvier. Sadly, Asterix died a few years later, at the young age of seven, from a malignant vascular tumour (cause unknown). Wallis and Asterix had been inseparable companions, and I tried to convince Wallis that we should adopt another Bouvier when Asterix died. Once she had been elevated to the throne as an only dog, however, she wouldn't hear of it. Now, three years after Asterix's death, Wallis has also been diagnosed with a tumour -- in one of her front legs. After many traditional medical opinions, including one from UC Davis, I elected the holistic way. Since she is a little over 11 years old and 102 pounds (not fat, just big), the objective is to make her life as painless and joyful as possible in the time she has left. She takes numerous food additives and vitamins and goes to acupuncture treatments every two or three weeks. But the best medicine is undoubtedly the bagel she gets every morning at the local coffee shop. Who knows? Her longevity may surprise all of us who know and love her." Contributed by Andrei Glasberg, San Francisco, CA. June 2000.



Wally Might Be Weeny Come Back to Life!

"I was so touched by the stories on the srdogs.com website that I had to tell my little Weeny's story:

"My sister and a friend from kindergarten were inseparable for many years. He would come over to our house almost every day, and my sister and I would also go to his house quite often. I always enjoyed going there because he had a wonderful, wiggly, little Dachshund named Weeny. I say 'little,' but actually he weighed 25 lbs. (He was a standard black-and-tan Dachshund.) Weeny was very friendly, and we all grew quite fond of each other. The only thing was that he was an outside dog and never allowed in the house. That was hard for him, since he was so people oriented.

"Eventually my sister and her friend broke off their friendship and didn't see each other except in passing. I often thought about Weeny, though, and how sweet he was. I sometimes would secretly go to visit him in his yard to give him cookies. I noticed during these visits that his family seemed to be spending less and less time with him. When I started junior high school, though, I stopped going to see Weeny. I just didn't have the time, and it seemed that Weeny and I would never see each other again.

"While at junior high school, I had become very interested in film making and had done a few films with my own two dogs as the stars. My sister and I eventually worked out a script for our next big picture called 'Curleyblanca,' after my dog Curley. When we finished, we realized that we were going to need every dog we could find to make the movie. We called friends and neighbors and got quite a few to participate. We were all set, when one of the lead players dropped out of the production, leaving an open space in the script. We needed to find a dog fast!

"I thought for a long time, and then I remembered Weeny. 'Why don't we get Weeny?' I asked my sister. She agreed that it sounded like a good idea. So I called and arranged a time to pick him up. When I arrived at the house, I noticed that Weeny wasn't barking, which was unusual for him. I soon found out that his 14 years had taken their toll: he was completely deaf and had major cataracts. Nevertheless, he was very happy to see me, and I, of course, was very touched that he remembered me.

"I took Weeny home and we worked on the movie until it was time for him to go back to his yard. It was hard to take him back, but I felt better because I knew I would be going to get him again to work on the film some more. As the production went on, I grew very used to having Weeny around and slowly introduced the idea to my parents that he should stay with us. I told them how awful it was for him to be living outside and not getting any attention. They sympathised but were not sold on the idea of keeping him since we already had two dogs. I said I would give them time to think about it, but, the next day when I went to pick Weeny up again, his family asked me if I knew anyone who wanted him. They felt guilty about not spending time with him and told me how miserable he seemed all the time. I told them I would take him as long as my parents said it was okay.

"At that point, my parents realized there was no choice. But, to tell the truth, my mom had grown to like him, and, once my mom agrees with me, my dad can't say no. And so began the next two-and-a-half years of living with Weeny. It was sort of a bittersweet relationship. Weeny had not been housebroken because he had lived outside his whole life. He had frequent accidents in the house. That was hard to deal with, but nothing was so hard as listening to him whine. He had incredible separation anxiety and didn't enjoy car rides. Every weekend, when we would go to the Bay Area, he would lick his paws and whine the whole way over! As difficult as this made things for us, his big soulful eyes always made you love him again. I don't think I will ever know a more faithful, loyal, and loving friend than I knew in Weeny. Unfortunately, Weeny had not had any medical care his entire life and eventually his health deteriorated. One day, he had some very alarming symptoms, and, my mom, who is a doctor, told me that he probably had an internal cancer and would not live much longer. When Weeny went into a coma, we realized he could not continue. It was very hard to let him go, but I felt good about having given him a good life in his last years. The story doesn't end here, however.

"Just a month ago, we adopted a senior Dachshund named Wally from death row at the animal shelter. At times, I feel as though Weeny has never left. He and Wally are so much alike I often wonder if Wally is Weeny, come back to life. He has been an absolutley wonderful companion, and my mom is in love with him! The hardest part about losing Weeny was seeing my mom cry. Now I'm glad to see her happy again with Wally. This entire experience has inspired me to try to help older dogs in need, because everyone deserves a good home in which to live out their golden years. From now on, it's senior dogs for me!" Contributed by Audrey Hsia, northern CA. March 2004.


William, with His Good Appetite and Good Companionship, May Well Reach 15!

"My wife and I have six dogs ranging in age from 'young' Bunty, a White West Highland Terrier, aged 6, to William, a Wire-Haired Fox Terrier, who will be 14 on 28th November. William was born on a farm in England, where I had the pleasure of meeting his sister, mother and grandmother when I went to collect him when he was 4 months old. His grandmother was a very sprightly 9-year old and insisted on jumping onto my lap to check me out before I was allowed to take her grandson away. I brought him back to Hong Kong as a present for my (then) fiancée, and he soon became the 'greatest love' of her life, which he still is. Unfortunately, William has motor neurone disease, which has made his back legs useless. The disease was diagnosed about 18 months ago, when he was given 6 months to live; but he is too fond of his food to let go yet. The disease is a creeping one and has reached his bladder muscles, making him incontinent. During the day, he lies on towels (we are thinking of getting a "SleePee" bed for him), and at night he sleeps quite comfortably in diapers worn around his 'waist.' William has been totally deaf for about 3 years and went blind in his right eye a year ago, with only about 50% vision in the other eye. His two other faculties work extremely well, however. He can smell a packet of a packet of potato chips being opened in the kitchen when he is in the second floor bedroom, and his demanding bark can be heard all over the neighbourhood when his share does not reach him as soon as he thinks it should. When he started to lose his ability to walk, the vet said that, as long as he wants to eat, then he is fine. He shows no sign of any decrease in appetite, and eats as much of anything as he is given. He and our other dogs all love fruit and vegetables -- even salad. He loves outings with the other dogs, where he is carried in a baby carrier on my wife's back. (William is really her dog, and so she insists on carrying him). On really long walks (several miles), William rides in his own buggy made from a low-sided plastic fruit basket filled with cushions and strapped onto a folding luggage trolley. We tried the wheels that strap onto his back, leaving his front legs to walk with, but he did not like that contraption, nor the sling that the holds up the rear end. He hates to be alone, and so, whenever possible, he is carried to wherever there is someone doing something. He will sit under my desk while I am working or sleep on the roof while the laundry is being done. He enjoys his morning 'stroll' around the garden to check on the flowers and the smell of the sea nearby. He has developed a very distinctive bark for each of his verious requirements: a drink or food or 'change the diaper' or 'I'm lonely,' or to scratch him (since he can't do thatfor himself), which he has trained us all to recognise. And the most remarkable thing is the way the other dogs (even his son, Hobbes, with whom he used to have bloody fights when they were younger) all check on him from time to time and, if he is alone, go and lie down right beside him to keep him company. Because of the vet's diagnosis, we really did not think William would reach his 13th birthday, but his paralysis seems to have slowed down such that the vet now thinks that unless another 'old dog' illness gets him, he will still be around to see 15." Contributed by Hamish Cowperthwaite, Sai Kung, Hong Kong.


Willy.....Dairy of a Long-Distance Rescue and Adoption
A German Wirehaired Pointer in southern California is rescued, then transported and adopted in northern California

April 4, 2000 -- The Senior Dogs Project receives the following E-mail: "Hello: I have information on an 8-to-10-year-old German Wirehaired Pointer in a shelter in Lancaster, CA. He seems to be a very nice dog. The southern California German Wirehaired Pointer club wants to help him, but has no place to foster him until a home can be found. Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated."

Srdogs responds immediately with suggestions and contacts Robyn Orloff, who works with rescue groups, including German Wirehaired Pointer rescue, in northern California and Nevada. Robyn gets on the case right away.

April 7, 2000 -- Details come through from the GWP club in southern CA: "The GWP in the Lancaster shelter is a big, quiet male ... crate trained and table (grooming) trained. All the shelter people like him. Animal Control Officer Leslie Troncale has taken him under her wing. He comes when he is called.....doesn't bother cats..... likes everyone ..... sits in heel position..... gets excited about going for a walk. All his injuries are healing up just fine thanks to veterinarian Dr. Davis and his assistant."

April 10, 2000 -- Robyn Orloff writes: "I think I have a home for the Lancaster GWP, up here in Reno. Working out the details and transportation. Will know for sure by Wednesday morning."

April 12, 2000 -- It's a go! The Lancaster Boy is to be adopted by the folks in Reno. A volunteer from the GWP club says she will drive him north; he's worth the trouble.

April 14, 2000 -- Happy Ending! Robyn E-mails us after the dog's arrival in northern CA: "The Lancaster Boy is a sweetheart! What an affectionate, appreciative soul! The RV trip went fine."

April 20, 2000 -- Notes from Adopter "Christy" on how Willy got his name and how he's settling in: "We are still learning what Willy has up his sleeve. He can clean countertops with his paws so that, when he's finished, it appears that a tornado has come through (motivates us to keep the counters neat). We toyed with the name 'Dervish' (as in 'whirling....'), but he didn't seem to like that. So far 'Wills' (as in 'test of....' ) seems to work the best. I was calling him 'Silly Willy' the other day, and he responded. I tried it again this morning, and he responded to commands; so, whatever his name was, 'Willy' is evidently close enough for him. He is currently sleeping at my feet in my office. Life is good."

This rescue was supported and made possible by the German Wirehaired Pointer Club of Southern CA, Robyn Orloff of Incline Village, CA, and Leslie Troncale, Dr. Davis, and the staff of the LA County Dept. of Animal Care and Control in Lancaster, CA.


Willy & Freddie, 13-Year-Old Brothers, One More Handsome Than the Other

"Willy and Freddie are my two 13-year-old Shih-tzus. I call Willy 'the pup' to make him feel young. His human companion in the photo is my sweetie, Bill. Freddie is Willy's brother, and considers himself more handsome than Willy, so he chose to be photographed alone." Contributed by sltnpepr@capitalnet.com


Yaz, a Dog for All Seasons
"Yaz was rescued from a breeding farm by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. They put her up for adoption, and we were delighted that the RSPCA felt we could offer Yaz the best home out of the many thousands who applied. Because of the truama that Yaz had suffered, it took two years to gain her confidence, but ultimately she responded with affection and loyalty. Yaz was eight years old when she came to us, and we had five wonderful years together. She died on the 14th of October 2002, and it was so sad for us. She will live on with memories and photographs, because to us there will never be another Yaz. She was irreplacable. We feel it was such a privilege to have had the love and companionship of a dear, old dog, now sadly missed." Contributed by Mrs Ann Elstob, Chadwell, St Mary, Essex, England. November 2002.

Yuppy Celebrates 17 1/2 on December 6, 2001

"This is Yuppy, who was born June 6, 1984. She has been with me all her 17 1/2 years, and has been happy and sweet every single day. She has taught us a lot about how to be accepting and happy through it all. Except for some trouble with her rear legs, she is able to enjoy life and occasionally plays with her 'little brother' Hank, who is 4. She has an independent spirit, and has never growled once in 17 1/2 years. Yuppy is a mixed breed; most think a Beardie and Miniature Schnauzer. Last month she won 'Oldest Dog' in our local 'Bark in the Park.' Amazingly, someone thought she was entered in the 'Youngest Dog' competition!" Contributed by Andrew Schiller, December 2001.

Update: March 2002: "Yuppy is approaching 18! The last photo we sent was when she turned 17 and 1/2. Here is today's photo of Yuppy, who turned 17 years, 9 months old on March 6, 2002. She still has her happy, sweet disposition but may require a doggy wheelchair soon, since she is having more and more trouble with her rear legs. She is a real cruiser when you support her back half! As she approaches 18, we are doing everything we can to make her life easy, interesting and comfortable. We have found that medrol and aspirin help her a lot, as does the introduction of soft dog food. She still has the urge to play with her younger friend, Hank, a Havanese, and still makes attempts to harass Leika, our senior cat. She still loves the outdoors, and all dog treats." Contributed by Andy Schiller and Beth O'Grady, Tewksbury, N.J. March 2002.


Zasu

"My dog is dying. Not tomorrow, maybe not even this year, but she is definitely starting to show the signs. She's getting lumps, and she sleeps a lot. She heavy-breathes after a short walk. She doesn't hear the UPS truck pull up with her special dog food. And she has arthritis. Her medicine, five pills in the morning, three at night, eases the pain in her hips, but some days it takes her a long time to lie down. Zasu is a Shepherd-Lab mix with an autumn-brown coat and a streak of white running from the crown of her head down the length of her snout. It was the stripe that made me choose her from identical littermates when she was seven weeks old.

"Last month Zasu turned fourteen. That's ninety-eight in human years. There are times when she is still like a puppy, romping and playing, just not as vigorously, or for nearly as long. She'll bark for my attention, then bring me her blue rubber ring for a game of Tug. I sit on the couch with my leg extended and she horseshoes the ring onto my foot. We tug back and forth until she pulls the ring off, swinging the prize in her mouth.

"Every night I give Zasu a brushing. A healing, I call it. I glide my hands along her back to find any hot spots, patches of warmer skin, usually over a static-y section in her coat. That's where I focus. I rub through her coarse brown hairs in round motions, loosening the heat, trying to dissipate the energy. She'll lick my hand when I'm in a really good spot. I massage her neck and shoulders and hips and, after a while, she'll roll over so I can reach her underside. Last night, as I rubbed a new lump along her spine I reminded her that she needs to tell me when it hurts too much. As she lay there, so relaxed, trusting me, I had a vision of our last time together and my heart cracked broken. I cried, wishing that she would hurry up and die, because it is torturing me to not know when. And then I cried for how much I will miss her. I nuzzled into her golden neck and cried for how much I miss my brother Lenny, who died when I was six. And then, for the first time, I cried for my own mother, for how it must have been for her to watch her seven year old son die of cancer.

"I buried my wet face into Zasu's thick fur, breathing in her big brown dog smell. Suddenly she squirmed to all fours and flipped her rubber ring into her mouth, swinging it between her teeth as she whipped her head from side to side. I grabbed it and pulled against her, full-strength. She held still just long enough for me to kiss the top of her white streak before tugging the ring out of my hands." Contributed by Ruth Davis. December 2000.


Zeke, at 11, a Good Ol', Big, Brown Bear of a Dog

"Zeke is about 11 years old. He's an 83-pound Chocolate Lab/Chesapeake mix. I adopted him from the pound after he'd been rescued by animal control. His vet estimated his age at 2.5 years when I adopted him. He was a BIG unknown, and my father thought I was nuts for bringing him home, but Zeke and I have been together happily for over nine years. Given his age, Zeke's in pretty good physical shape. I'm concerned about his mental and emotional health as he's growing older and would like to be as supportive to him and to make him as comfortable as possible in his autumn years. He's a good ol' boy -- a big, brown-bear of a dog. He's been my companion for almost a decade. The photo is of Zeekers slobbering on his sucker-bone, one of his greatest pleasures." Contributed by Shawn Connolly, Seattle, WA. September 1999.


Zorro, Age 17, Well-loved in Italy

Zorro, Age 17"We were walking down a small cobblestone street in Montepulciano, Italy, and couldn't believe our eyes as what seemed to be the oldest dog on earth came walking toward us. We spoke almost no Italian but were able to discover from the lady walking him that he was 17 years old and that his name was Zorro. In any language, it was clear that he was very well loved and still very interested in life." Contributed by Rosie & Bob Heil, Oakland, CA