Abby, 14, the First Old Dog Adopted, But Not the Last

"We saw Abby sitting depressed in a cage at the Fayetteville Animal Shelter. According to the card on her cage door, she was eleven years old. I asked Lib at the reception desk what the odds were of that old dog being adopted. I think Lib knew right then that the old dog was going home. It seemed too disloyal not to give an old dog a comfortable home for life. I figure my species can't ever repay Abby's species for all they have done for us.

"We took our other two dogs to the Shelter to meet Abby, and they seemed to approve (or at least they didn't object too much), so we took big old Abby home. We thought we were doing her a favor. It was she who did us a favor. To begin, she had been trained! -- and trained far better than our own dogs were. She could sit and stay and come. She was apparently taught not to get on the furniture. And she was taught not to jump on people. She was already spayed when we got her, and it was obvious that she had been well cared for earlier in life.

"But, most important, she's a great dog! She's sweet, friendly, and completely trustworthy. She's the dog that I tell kids, yes, they can pet her. She's a great dog to hug. She will cuddle and 'talk to you' with little grunting sounds. Abby is now 14, and still going strong. She apparently had a stroke last summer, but has recovered completely. Our walks are shorter than they used to be, but she's still eager to go. I know that her time is limited. Especially since her stroke, I've thought of her as being sort of 'on loan from God.' One of these days, God is going to want her back, but, until then, Abby is part of our family.

"She's the first old dog we've adopted. She won't be the last." Posted with permission from Nan Lawler; initial appearance on the Fayetteville Animal Shelter website, Fayetteville, AR, Animal Shelter and Animal Services, 1640 Armstrong Road, Fayetteville, AR . March 2000.

Update, October 16, 2000: "Abby died on October 2, apparently very quietly in her sleep. I think she must have been 15 by then--we had her almost exactly four years. I think it's possible that someone's been waiting for her at the 'Rainbow Bridge'; she had a whole life before I ever met her, and I've always suspected that she ended up in a shelter because of a death in the family. We have another 15-year-old who's sick and needs a lot of attention now. But one of these days I'll be telling people at the shelter, 'Keep your eyes open for another old dog who needs a make us as happy as Abby did.' Nan Lawler, Fayetteville, AR.

Abby, 9 Years Old, Inspires Love, Loyalty, and Harmony in Her New Family of Cat Lovers

"My brother married a cat lover, and I don't think his wife has ever been certain how or why she visited an animal shelter and came out with a 9-year-old, undersized, overbred Cocker Spaniel who had been dumped by the roadside when she was no longer of use and developing health problems. My cat-loving, dog-disdaining sister-in-law and my niece and nephew (Jared, in the photo with Abby) are now totally devoted to Abby. Abby, in turn, has quickly adopted a life of leisure. Her biggest decision these days is deciding whose lap to lie on (it's usually Mom's) and which child with whom to sleep (lying on chest preferred). I found it both touching and amusing when this pint-sized Cocker, who should be wearing granny glasses, turned into a fierce 'Ma Barker' when my dog, Kuvacz, got too close to her new family. This pint-sized, 12-pound dog snarled and grabbed my towering, 80-pound Kuvasz by the nose. Kuvasz, a grandmother herself, gave Abby a telepathic 'It's all right, dear,' and padded past to lie at my feet. The children were aghast and their mother terribly embarassed by Abby's ferocity. I explained how I saw the situation: Abby had had a hard life, was now in a loving family, and was telling the world that no one was going to jeopardize that relationship. She would risk death to save her new life with her new family. At this point, the two children, who squabble like all normal siblings, curled up on the rug with Abby between them, tenderly reassuring her she was loved and would never again be abandoned." Update, July 1998: "Sadly, Kuvasz was finally and completely dominated last Wednesday. She died naturally of old age, very gently and at home, surrounded by love." Contributed by Mary Brownell, North Bennington, VT

Amanda & Jordan Join the Ranks of Seniors

"Finally, our last two Doxies can be considered seniors and added to this page. Amanda and Jordan are brother/sister to my other entries, Mary, Jake, Sue, and Mariah Hope. Sadly, we lost our Precious Perfect Jake in August to congestive heart failure. We know he is with Mary now, waiting for us. (Bless you, Jakie. Take care of Mary.)

"Amanda is six years old and, like the others, came to us as a rescue. Her former family thought that a suitable punishment for a housetraining accident was tying her to the front porch and shooting her. When we heard about this, we bailed her out and took her into our family, right then and there. 'Manda' is a smooth, red Dachshund and has been nicknamed 'Psycho,' since she loves to run in circles, play with all the toys, chase bugs, and burrow under blankets or inside pillowcases. No matter what the temperature is, Manda is under some kind of cover. She also is a Daddy's girl, as are Susan and Mariah. She's the only red Doxie we have.

"There's a reason we've nicknamed her 'Manda,' as in 'The Commander.' When we lost Precious Mary, Manda took over as the boss. She has command of the foot of our bed every night.

"Jordan is a small, standard, black and tan, smooth Doxie. He's the biggest one and the only male we have now, and tips the scales at 17 pounds, our largest Doxie ever! Jordan woke up paralyzed one morning. We have no idea what happened, but were not prepared to lose him. He spent seven weeks in his crate, being carried outside every trip, sometimes needing help to 'go.' Miraculously, he recovered and today, he runs with the girls and shows no signs of every having been unable to walk. He was also bitten by a brown recluse spider and came through that just fine. He's a survivor! We don't have any background on Jordan other than his coming from rescue. He is the most laid-back Doxie that we have. Give him his chair, and he's perfectly content. Mariah has gotten very attached to 'her man' and literally sleeps on top of him. He never complains. Jordan is an ideal dog and is about eight years old.

"All of our Doxies are now in the Senior Class, and I wouldn't trade them for anything." Contributed by Beth Casselman, Oklahoma City, OK. December 2000.

Amber, at 14, Cute as When She Was a Pup

"This is my girl Amber. She's almost as cute now as she was as a puppy in December of '84. At 14, she's healthy, active and still enjoys our camping trips and other outdoor activities. We're both looking forward to many more good times in the future."

Update September 2001: "Amber (aka Hambone, Hamchick, Hamchicken) is gone. She almost made it to 16, but decided that she was just too tired. I still miss her dearly and writing this leaves me sobbing with the heartache. Amber.... 10/84 - 6/21/00." Contributed by Jayme, with the canine crew and the feline foursome in WA.


Amtrac.....Best Friend, Recovered from a Stroke

"Here's my senior, best friend! Like other seniors, he also had a stroke and recovered." Contributed by P.Cavanagh. June 2001. (Editor's Note: Many dogs fully recover from a stroke. Don't lose heart and give up if your senior suffers a stroke. It may take some time, but, even moreso than with humans, full recovery is possible.)

Amtrac's Senior Years Were the Best

"Amtrac lived a healthy, long 16 years! He was my best friend and constant companion. We went everywhere together -- work or travel, Amtrac went with me. My buddy has gone on to Doggie Heaven and I'll miss him always, but there are still a great many old pals out there for us to care for. Our doggie seniors need us in their golden years more than ever. It breaks my heart to know that so many beautiful older dogs have been abandoned at shelters and may not find new homes. They have given their young years to someone, with loyalty and love. To be dumped at a shelter for reasons unknown to them must be terrifying. Living with Amtrac through his senior years, I can tell you that the golden years are the best. It's especially during those years that you learn from a dog just how good life is." Contributed by Pete Cavanagh, Germany.  January 2004.

Andy, an "Old Man" with Zest for Life

"This is my old man Andy. Been with me close to half my life. Andy used to catch toys in the air, roll over, and do those lovable 'dog' kind of things. However, age has caught up with this sweet little boy. He's practically blind, wobbly, has heart problems, and sleeps a lot. He is still kicking, though, and can give his new brother, Bandit (a long-coat Chihuahua), a run for his money. Andy is my son, my buddy boy, and a great companion. May God give him a continuing zest for life and a peaceful forever." Contributed by Wendy C. Warfield, San Antonio, TX ( Born in Danville, PA) 

Annie, Age 15, Loves a Bedtime StoryAnnie

"Annie is my 15-year-old, 26-pound Schnauzer. Every evening, before bedtime, we're in the habit of having a 'story.' Sometimes I tell her about her mom and dad (he was a champion) or her brothers and sisters. Her favorite stories, though, are the ones about her younger days, when she could run after the neighborhood cats. Even though those days are behind her, and she can barely see a cat, much less chase one, we still have a good time together. The bedtime story seems to give a happy ending to her day, and she seems to fall asleep contentedly after it's over. I know I do." Contributed by Jan E., San Francisco, CA. (Update January 1998: Annie went to the Rainbow Bridge after a long bout with cognitive dysfunction syndrome.)

Annie, a Rather Well-bred English Bulldog, Knows How to Run Things

"Annie is 12-and-a-half years old and has been with me since she was a pup of six weeks. She is a rather well-bred English Bulldog. Although she was the runt of the litter, she is quite competent at running the household and the neighbourhood. She is well traveled and has lived in several countries: born in South Africa, lived for a while in the States, and at present resides in Israel. She is getting old and slow and recently I have had a ramp built for her so that she can climb onto her favourite couch. She has been a wonderful friend and has been sitting here with me now watching me choose a picture to show her off on the srdogs site." Contributed by Eva. Israel. July 2003.

Arlo, a Noble Senior Peke

"It was thirteen years ago, on April 14, 1990 that a friend drove me to the home of a dog-breeder in northeastern Missouri. There I got the first dog I ever had, a twelve week old Pekingese puppy. From his precious early years, to the present day as a noble senior peke, Arlo has been at my side through good times and bad. He took over my heart and is not only a cherished companion, but a best friend. This picture was taken at the time of his 13th birthday in January 2003." Contributed by George Walker. May 2003.

Arnie -- Before & After

"I do rescue here in Phoenix. I often take a senior off the 'kill list' at the shelters. Seniors are wonderful. Here are before and after photos of a miniature Poodle I recently pulled off the kill list. Yes, it's the same dog! He is seven years old and absolutely perfect. 'Arnie' is in his new home after I fostered him for about a month -- a happy ending for a pup who was in pretty poor shape when I first got him. I'm glad I saved Arnie; he truly is the perfect little dog." Contributed by Caron Lorber, Phoenix, AZ. December 1999.

Artemis' Arrow -- Aged Gracefully and with Good Humor

 "This photo of Artemis' Arrow was taken on her 15th birthday. In 1986, I had a 9-month old Labrador who was hit by a car and killed. She was well known at my place of employment -- the Institute of Ecology at the University of Georgia in Athens. Two days after she was killed, my co-workers at the Institute presented me with an eight-week-old black Labrador puppy. She was a complete surprise, and there wasn't a dry eye in the house. Arrow died last summer at the age of 15 years and 4 months. She was always high spirited and a challenge. She aged gracefully and with good humor." Contributed by Peggy Anderson, Fort Collins, CO. March 2002.

Ashley, Age 13, Is Kept Busy as a Groomer's Official Greeter

"Ashley has been my companion for 13 years, and, except for a continuing struggle with allergies, she is in perfect health. I have always kept her on a premium diet, kept her off steroids, and kept her busy. As a groomer, I am fortunate to be able to take her to work with me everyday....she is my official greeter. She is a wonderful companion -- a sympathetic, confidant, and joyous playmate, and, even at 13, she still gives her year-old Akita mix 'cousin' a run for her money!" Contributed by Karen Farley.



Autumn Was Never "Stupid" -- At 14, She's at the Top of Her Class

"Four years ago, I took in a ten-year-old, Husky/Shepherd mix named 'Autumn.' Her original home was on a farm with a pack of six other dogs in northern Ontario, Canada. Her owners died, and she was passed down through the ranks of the remaining family until I heard about her needing a home and took her in. I didn't know then how much my life would change because of her.

"When Autumn was turned over to me, I was told that she had no training, had never worn a collar or leash, and that her nickname was 'Stupid.' At first, when she came to live with us, she would sit in a corner most of the time, staring at the wall. She would also growl when I touched her or her food dish. It was clear to me that none of us in the household could live with a dog who behaved like this. So I called a local trainer, and as luck would have it, the trainer was a specialist in dog behavior. She designed a program for Autumn and me to follow at home, and, once a week, at school. After just the first session, I could see Autumn's personality changing. She stopped staring at the wall and started to trust me as a leader. The nick name 'Stupid' was replaced with comments like, 'Autumn's the smartest dog of the whole pack.'

"Even though she was ten years old, Autumn had to be taught just like a puppy: we went through the howling phase of crate training, worked through touch and desensitization, had to learn to wear a collar and leash and to walk properly on busy streets. We did it all! and, in the end, it was more than worth it.

"Over the past four years, Autumn and I have had our ups and downs. We've recovered from an attack by an off-leash dog, but it's made Autumn aggressive toward other dogs. I learned that she loves going to dog school and acting like the class clown. She also loves camping, hiking, biking and, of course, walks. She opened a door of study for me in dog training and behavior. She is not only my friend, but my four-footed child. I learned that it is my job not only to take care of her, but to help her to grow and learn. At fourteen years of age, Autumn behaves like a six- year-old. She's the oldest in her class, but also at the top of it. We hope to be able to take the Good Canine Citizenship test this year, provided we work harder on curbing aggression toward other dogs. I think we're up to the challenge.

"I am so grateful that fate or luck brought us together; we are a perfect match." Contributed by Laura Elend, Oakville, Ontario, Canada. March 2001.