Misty, the 10-year-old Golden Retriever who inspired the Senior Dogs Project

The Senior Dogs Project
..........."Looking Out for Older Dogs" ...........

"Blessed is the person who has earned the love of an old dog."
Sydney Jeanne Seward

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News.... September 2001
Additional News Items Posted 9/6/01: Puppy Mill Owners Party.... Senior German Shepherd Dog "Elsa" Wins a Ribbon

In this issue: Advertising for  Senior Dogs in Need of New Homes.... Welcome to Stynson.... Pet Care RX.... A Vermont Chapel for People and Their Dogs..... San Francisco SPCA Encourages Adoption of Older Companion Animals.... Spay/Neuter Postage Stamps for 2002... Best-selling "Greenies" May Be Harmful... In Memory of Hobbes.... A Favorite Story

Puppy Mill Owners Party
On September 22, Andrew Hunte (President of the world's largest animal brokerage company, The Hunte Corporation) is throwing a huge party for all the puppy mill owners who produce dogs for them. Featured speakers at this giant bash are Alfred Cheaure, President and CEO of the American Kennel Club, and Robert Slay, Vice President of the American Kennel Club. Hunte Corporation owns four large brokerage warehouses. The day-long Hunte celebration will be held at their headquarters location: Sundowner Brokerage, 121 North Royhill Blvd., Goodman, MO 64843, telephone 1-800-829-4155.

Remind these folks that puppy mill breeding is inhumane and socially irresponsible. Help get the message across to them: (1) Call the above number to protest. (2) Copy this article and send it to as many animal defender friends and associates as possible. (Don't forget friends in the media!) (3) Call the American Kennel Club at both 1-919-816-3524 and 1-212-696-8200 and tell them to stop supporting puppy mills.

Elsa Wins a Ribbon!

Thanks to Cynthia Typaldos of Santa Clara, CA, for telling us about her wonderful new family addition, Elsa. Elsa was invited to join the German Shepherd Dog Parade of Rescues last week-end, where she was awarded a ribbon. Here is Cynthia's report on this wonderful dog:

"Elsa, a German Shepherd Dog whom I adopted from the Santa Clara Valley Humane Society on 8/11/01, already she has proven to be the perfect pet. She had been at the shelter for three weeks, turned in by her family because she was 'too lively,' even though she is 10 1/2 years old. In my opinion, she is just right. According to the surrender form, Elsa spent her first six years on a farm, perhaps as a breeder, then the last four with the family that gave her up. She is a good mentor to my two younger Chihuahua-Beagles, Buffy and Pumpkin, tolerates the cats, and ignores the birds. Her biggest fault is that she sometimes wags her tail so hard she knocks Buffy over. While Elsa is not a replacement for Spot, the German Shepherd/Husky mix I adopted at age 13 ½ and who died last year at age 18, she does remind me of him because of her sweet personality and friendliness. Elsa is a poster dog example of why a senior pet can be a great adoption choice. Thanks to Sharon Thompson, the GSD show organizer, for inviting me and Elsa to participate in the parade and for the big ribbon!"

(Editor's note: You can see Spot's story posted on the "Senior Dogs in Real Life" segment of the srdogs site.)

Advertising for Senior Dogs in Need of New Homes

The Senior Dogs Project has been swamped lately with requests for ad postings on the srdogs site for senior dogs in need of new homes. It would help us to help as many dogs as possible, if the new guidelines for ads were followed.  If you would like to place an ad for a senior dog in need of a home, you'll find the new guidelines on the ads page.

In summary, we're asking that requests for ads be made as follows:

  • no more than 100 words, providing only that information that will enable or encourage a person to respond with an offer of a foster or adoptive home
  • submission of one GOOD photograph (an expressive face shot, preferably NOT behind a cage)

You can send us links to other sites from which we can copy the dog's ad and/or photo; but, please send us the exact URL to the page. It often takes an agonizingly long time to navigate through a site to find the ad for the specific dog in need of exposure on srdogs.

We're delighted that there have been so many adoptions as a result of ads appearing on srdogs; but we REALLY need your help in following the guidelines to enable us to keep the numbers of successful adoptions growing.

Thank you!

Welcome to Stynson

In mid-August, the Senior Dogs Project received a call from Norcal Golden Retriever Rescue asking if we could foster a senior Golden Retriever for one night. He was a 12-year-old left at San Francisco Animal Care & Control and would not be put up for adoption since he was old and also had been diagnosed with mast cell disease (a form of cancer). We agreed to provide foster care for him for one night, but that was all it took to convince us that he would make a wonderful addition to the Senior Dogs Project family.

We've replaced the "ti" in his given name ("Stinson") with "ty" ("Stynson"), because he reminds us so much of our "Ty," a wonderful Golden Retriever we lost to cancer almost three years ago.

We're delighted to have Stynson with us for whatever time he has left. We hope to make every one of his remaining days the happiest and most fulfilling days possible.... which is all we can wish for any and all of us.

Prescription Medication

Last month, we mentioned that we had become aware of an Internet-based source for companion animal medication that is reliable and that offers very good prices: PetCareRx, with a site at http://www.PetCareRx.com, and a toll-free telephone number: 1-800-844-1427. Website visitors report that better prices for some prescription medications were found on KV Vet.

A Vermont Chapel for People and Their Dogs

Stephen Huneck, a Vermont artist who specializes in dog art, has been inspired, according to a New York Times article (August 7, 2001), to create a chapel in which "....people can connect with themselves and their dogs, alive and dead." This is not a "cult," but rather a simple recognition that dogs play an important role in many people's lives, and that they should not be excluded from a "religious" connection. In addition to the chapel in  St. Johnsbury, VT, Mr. Huneck has galleries in Woodstock, VT, Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard, MA, Santa Fe, NM, and Key West, FL.

According to one visitor to the chapel, Ellen Dennis of Rochester, NY, she wept as she read some of the postings on the walls. She said, "It's so comforting to know there are so many people who feel so close to their dogs." She noted also that, "...the chapel just brings a little bit of reverence to the relationship people have with their pets. It really does validate and give comfort to people."

A sign outside the chapel in St. Johnsbury, reads: "All creeds, all breeds, no dogmas."

San Francisco SPCA Encourages Adoption of Older Companion Animals
We liked the summary entitled "The Best Years of Their Lives," in a mailing we received recently from the San Francisco SPCA. Here are the valid points made:
  • Older pets are usually quieter and less demanding than their younger counterparts.
  • Older dogs often need less exercise than young pups, and older cats are more likely to cuddle and nap than climb the curtains in play.
  • They are often already housebroken.
  • They know how to behave around people, and may already obey basic commands.
  • Thanks to advances in veterinary medicine and pet nutrition, senior cats and dogs live longer than ever before.
  • They really need you! Puppies and kittens usually find homes quickly, but older dogs and cars are often passed by.

Spay/Neuter Postage Stamps for 2002

The United States Postal Service will be issuing two "Spay/Neuter Your Pet" stamps as part of its U.S. Stamp Program for 2002. The Neuter Your Pet stamp will depict a dog, while the Spay Your Pet stamp will depict a cat. The artwork, high quality photographs guaranteed to wrench even the hardest of hearts, is slated to be unveiled to the public on October 17.

Best-selling "Greenies" May Be Harmful
A "best-selling" product called Greenies is advertised as follows:

"Dog's can't resist the taste! Helps clean teeth and freshen breath. Shaped like a dog bone, the abrasive action decreases buildup of dental plaque. Created by a veterinarian, clinical nutritionist and agricultural specialist. Does not contain by-products, preservatives, artificial flavors or colors. Improves digestibility."

A number of reports have been circulating on the Internet about dogs having serious problems digesting Greenies. The manufacturer has been contacted, but it is not clear whether any action is being taken by them. The Senior Dogs Project would welcome hearing from anyone with verifiable information about problems with this product. Please E-mail us.

In Memory of Hobbes
The Swenson family contributed a photo and story about their beloved Lab, Hobbes, to our "Senior Dogs in Real Life" page a couple of years ago. We loved Hobbes' photo with the slogan the Swenson's coined: "Happiness is the smile of a senior dog."

Sadly, Hobbes moved on over to the Rainbow Bridge in mid-August. We received this E-mail from the Swenson family:

"It is a sad day in the Swenson house. Hobbes left us yesterday after 12 1/2 years of friendship, companionship, and love. We took him into the vet yesterday afternoon because he had a case of ADR (Ain't Doin' Right). We found out that he had an enlarged heart, probably from some form of heart disease. We think his heart was so large because he would always take the pain from our heart and put it in his. He was a trooper right to the end, but was ready to go play with the other doggies in heaven. We miss him tremendously but have wonderful memories of his smiling face. Say a prayer for the big yellow dog. -- Tom and Susan Swenson"

A Favorite Story.....
A man and his dog were walking along a road. The man was enjoying the scenery, when it suddenly occurred to him that he was dead. He remembered dying, and that the dog walking beside him had been dead for years. He wondered where the road was leading them.

After a while, they came to a high, white stone wall along one side of the road. It looked like fine marble. At the top of a long hill, it was broken by a tall arch that glowed in the sunlight. When he was standing before it, he saw a magnificent gate in the arch that looked like mother of pearl, and the street that led to the gate looked like pure gold.

He and the dog walked toward the gate, and as he got closer, he saw a man at a desk to one side. When he was close enough, he called out, "Excuse me, where are we?"

"This is Heaven, sir," the man answered.

"Wow! Would you happen to have some water?" the man asked.

"Of course, sir. Come right in, and I'll have some ice water brought right up." The man gestured, and the gate began to open.

"Can my friend," gesturing toward his dog, "come in, too?" the traveler asked.

"I'm sorry, sir, but we don't accept pets."

The man thought a moment and then turned back toward the road and continued the way he had been going with his dog. After another long walk, and at the top of another long hill, he came to a dirt road which led through a farm gate that looked as if it had never been closed. There was no fence.

As he approached the gate, he saw a man inside, leaning against a tree and reading a book. "Excuse me!" he called to the reader. "Do you have any water?"

"Yeah, sure, there's a pump over there". The man pointed to a place that couldn't be seen from outside the gate. "Come on in."

"How about my friend here?" the traveler gestured to the dog.

"There should be a bowl by the pump." They went through the gate, and sure enough, there was an old fashioned hand pump with a bowl beside it.

The traveler filled the bowl and took a long drink himself, then he gave some to the dog. When they were full, he and the dog walked back toward the man who was standing by the tree waiting for them.

"What do you call this place?" the traveler asked.

"This is Heaven," was the answer.

"Well, that's confusing," the traveler said. "The man down the road said that was Heaven, too."

"Oh, you mean the place with the gold street and pearly gates.... Nope. That's Hell."

"Doesn't it make you mad for them to use your name like that?"

"No. I can see how you might think so, but we're just happy that they screen out the folks who'll leave their best friends behind."

Want to read the ....... August 2001 Newsletter?