Tagged: “animal rescue”

Overcoming the Fostering Fears

A tan dog sitting on a rug.

Wade, the first foster.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Amy Sell

Almost two years ago my life changed.  It all started in May, 2013. I started receiving emails from an old high school friend about dogs in need. Their situations seemed urgent and sometimes sad. It intrigued me. I thought about fostering, but also wondered how I could give up a dog or not get attached. I thought I would cry while adopting them out. But still, I wondered if I didn’t help these dogs, who would? At the time I was in a relationship and asked my boyfriend what he thought about fostering—he was against it, stating that it seemed like a “selfish” thing to do and that I probably wouldn’t be able to let the dog go when adopted. I was stunned, but didn’t want to argue about it.

Fast forward two months…my boyfriend and I broke up and after receiving emails on a weekly basis about dogs in need, I felt I couldn’t stand by much longer and wonder. I had to know. I had to know if I could love a dog enough to let him or her go when I knew the time was right—to save a life and see what fostering was like. So with much trepidation, I sent Tiana an email asking to foster Wade, a 2-year-old tan lab mix. Instantaneously I felt relief—like I was doing the right thing, but I was still nervous about what I was getting myself into.

Two days later Wade was scheduled to arrive at my apartment. Man was I nervous! I was shaking like rattle snake’s tail! My soul mate dog, Peyton, could tell, but I knew he would love the company. He’s such an outgoing, nurturing, and playful guy!

A woman named Kristin arrived with Wade and two other dogs. She was so friendly and very excited, but she could tell I was nervous. A few minutes later Tiana showed up to take one of the other dogs as her foster. Peyton met Wade and instantly accepted and loved him; I brought him into my home.

As days passed I noticed two things—Wade was a big sweetie and that caring for an extra dog is not a whole lot more work than caring for one. Wade kept Peyton active and they would chase and wrestle around the house. It was sweet harmony.  Even years later, I can spot that bond of the perfect pack.

I had Wade as a foster for about a month and a half. I’ve never admitted it, but there were times I forgot he was a foster; however, it always came back to mind that I can’t get attached. When Tiana contacted me because someone wanted to adopt him I knew I had to see it through and experience what it would be like to give up someone I cared so much for.

Tiana and I both went to Georgetown to meet a couple who owned a mountain home—a perfect place for a sweet dog like Wade to run and play. I had knots in my stomach the whole way wondering if I could go through with the adoption. The minute I met the couple the questions changed. It wasn’t, “Can I go through with this?” or “What will it be like to give up a dog?” Instead, the question was, “How can I not let Wade go on and have the best life and family?” To let go is sometimes a tough decision, but reaps the most beautiful reward.

It has been a crazy two years, but I wouldn’t change a minute of it! I have learned so much about rescuing, animals, and relationships. Fostering and working with PawsCo has become so much of who I am and something I feel so passionate about. Recently I told Tiana that she and Kristin have changed my life and made it so much more beautiful and complete. I didn’t realize early on the profound effect that Tiana and Kristin would have on my life. I am so blessed by the gifts of PawsCo, fostering, and volunteering with amazing people; each has had a beautiful impact on my life and the way I see the world.

Visit our foster page to become part of this amazing experience.

Jeter, an Adoptable Dog Who Lives Up to His Legendary Namesake

A white and brown dog.

By Brie & Jeff Agulia

Jeter is much like his namesake, Derek Jeter. He is tough, but loves to cuddle. He is strong, but a lover. He is very loyal, and wants to go with you anywhere you go. Jeter LOVES to take rides in the car. This adoptable dog listens well and has no problem going in his kennel when it’s time for foster mom and dad to leave for a bit.

A white and brown dog lies on grass.He is easy-going, and the entire time he has been living with us he has never chewed on something he wasn’t supposed to. He knows which are his toys and which are not. He loves to play tug of war with his toys or chase them down the hallway and bring them back to you. Jeter will let you know when he needs to go outside, but never gets in trouble out there. He may say “HI!” to the neighbor dog at the fence, but it is harmless.

Jeter even has his own form of communication with you and will “talk” to you if you are repeating what he says. He has so many funny positions he lies in to get comfortable. Jeter loves kids and adults alike–he will give you kisses if you want them or just sit in front of you so you can pet him. He loves to go on walks, but needs some training there. He really prefers people to other animals.

A white and brown dog lies on the ground while chewing on a purple balllThe perfect home for Jeter is with people who want a loyal pup who will show you unconditional love. He will make you laugh, and compel you to play with him. A yard is ideal for Jeter, as dog parks and walks aren’t the best environment for him. He doesn’t need to get out much and is happy just playing in the backyard or in the house. You won’t be disappointed with this legend…..he will leave a mark on your heart and your family forever.

Learn more about Jeter, in his own words.

An Emergency Vet Visit Saves a Life

A black and white dog sits on a path outside.

Riley on a walk outside.

By Jessica Corvinus

Ben and I were so excited to foster a puppy. When I picked our puppy up to bring her home I actually squealed with excitement. She was so wiggly, happy, and snuggly! She was just romping around the yard having a great time, and I could not wait to get her home to run around with my playful dog, Reggie. I even named her Riley because Reggie and Riley sounded cute together (and yes, I already thought we would foster fail with this dog.)

Reggie and Riley were getting along great. After a few hours, Riley looked so tired! She lied down and stopped engaging. I assumed it was from all of the playing. Then, she threw up her dinner. I figured that was also from all of the playing.

But every half hour or so she kept getting sick, even after there was not anything else to throw up. She was getting sick more frequently, and it was just a white foamy mucus blob. Her stomach was making the loudest noises that I could hear from across the room. She wouldn’t move and just kept throwing up the white stuff.

A black and white dog sits in a car seat.

Riley takes a ride.

After a few hours, at least a dozen “accidents” and several google searches, we decided that this was not normal puppy stuff and she needed to get to a vet ASAP. All signs pointed to parvovirus. It was the middle of the night so I could not take her to any clinic–emergency was our only option, and we definitely felt a sense of urgency. I called one of our partner vets and immediately called the number they listed in their voicemail for emergencies.

The 10 minute car ride to the emergency vet seemed like an hour. The puppy who was playful and spirited at 5:00 p.m. was almost lifeless at 3:00 a.m. Ben and I were both crying the whole way there and we continued to cry when the vet came back to tell us Riley indeed tested positive for parvovirus. I remember calling Tiana and just being so scared and upset–and of course feeling terrible that I had to call her at that hour to give her the news.

After several days at the vet and being on a puppy IV, Riley came home and was back to her wiggly, happy self. She was such a little trooper and we were ecstatic to have her back with us. If we had waited through the night, Riley would not have made it. That trip to the emergency vet saved her life.

Parvovirus has a very small treatment window and no “cure,” so you have to start treating symptoms immediately. I am so thankful that we made the decision that we did, even though we knew how much it would cost the rescue.

A black and white dog sits on a dog bed in a car seat.

Riley on her bed.

Soon after Riley was fully recovered she was adopted by a friend. Even though Ben and I did not foster fail, we kept her close and still get to see her. She is now Penny (or as we call her, Penny Wiggles), and she is the sweetest, happiest, and most playful pup. She is so full of life and energy! We are so lucky to have her in our lives.

Interested in fostering great dogs like Riley? Check out our foster page.

A Tale of Two Brugs, and Why You Might Want to Adopt Them

Two small pug mix dogs sit on a wood floor while wearing sweaters.

Pixie, left, and Chewy, right, ready to head outside.

By Britton Slagle, Pixie and Chewy’s foster mom

What is a Brug?

A Brug is a Brussels Griffon/Pug mix, which seems to sum up Chewy’s ancestry. Given that Pixie is his mother and we are not exactly sure what she is mixed with, we call her an honorary Brug – we know she’s part Brussels Griffon for sure!

A tan pug mix with a black face lies on a blue blanketWhen I first met Pixie and Chewy, admittedly, I  laughed; they are so silly looking! Under bites, wiry fur, and the best part, mohawks! I’ve never seen dogs like them before. Their personalities are just as unique. Pixie is sweet, calm, and very cuddly. Chewy is hilarious and spunky, but can be just as snugly. I quickly got to know them and have enjoyed each day with these two sweet souls. Let me tell you a little about the“Brug.”

A Brug is hilarious

These two make me laugh daily, whether I want to or not. Chewy does this funny thing where he will run down the stairs and slide on the kitchen floor until he hits either my legs or the wall. But don’t worry! He just gets up and does it again.

He also likes to talk to me in a way that only Chewy can (this you have to see for yourself – I can’t explain it!). Pixie eats breakfast, runs up to the couch, rubs her face in the cushions, and then looks at me with her mohawk like, “What are you looking at? Me?”

They both shake their bodies with all their might, and when they’re done, their mohawks appear as if out of nowhere – it’s Brug magic!A tan Brug lies on a blue blanket

A Brug is a cuddle bug

Pixie would sleep all day and night if she could. She gets so comfy and then falls fast asleep. She isn’t a bother, but simply wants to be by me while she enjoys her dreams. Chewy has to get a little energy out first, but once he’s done, he’s out like a light. Chewy wakes up early in the morning, stretches out like a lion, and yawns his biggest yawn.

They both snore a little, but it’s the cute kind, not the kind where I want to kick them out of bed. I often have to work several hours at night and on the weekends, but they don’t mind too much. They cuddle up next to me and sleep while I work – yes, I do get jealous. They let me know when it is time to put my work down and play with them. I listen; they have taught me well.

Two Brugs lie on their backs with their mouths open facing each other.

Just some Brug lounge time.

A Brug is smart

They are both very smart. Each has learned numerous tricks, including shake, watch me, touch, let’s go, and turn around. They are still reactive to other animals, but we are working on that. They are quick to please their humans. Chewy is very food-motivated and Pixie likes her snacks, too, but loves the praise she receives when she learns something new.

A Brug is your new family member

I do not think people can really appreciate Pixie and Chewy in all their Brugness without meeting them. They truly are a joy to have around. I want them to share the love and joy they bring me with a family all their own. They deserve this much; I think a lucky family deserves this much, too.

Please visit their page or send PawsCo an email to meet them (meetup@pawscoadoptions.org). They could very well be the two Brugs you never knew you needed in your life. 🙂

Two Brugs stand together wearing green bandannas

Adoptable Dog’s Wish List

A white bull terrier with a green bandanna around his neck

Hamilton at the Broken Shovels farm

By Katelyn Massey

My name is Katelyn and my boyfriend and I have been fostering Hamilton for the past three months. It’s been quite an adventure with this special boy. Based on our time together, we’ve come up with three specific wishes for this adoptable dog. If Hamilton had his own “genie in a bottle,” this is what we would request.

I wish everyone could see how amazing he is.

Yes, he is unique-looking. Yes, he is a sweetheart. But he is so much more than that. Hamilton is truly a special soul and whoever adopts him is signing up for a lifetime of cuddles and smiles. He is pretty easy to please – he just needs a soft bed, a yummy bone, some ear scratches, and lots of snuggle time!

Hamilton is a low-energy dog who enjoys a walk every now and then and would prefer a laid-back mom or dad to hang out with and love. He doesn’t have much interest in other pups and would be just fine as an only pet (though he gets along with his foster sister very well!). When you look into Hammie’s eyes, you just see such appreciation – for being rescued, for having humans who care about him, for a warm bed, and full tummy. Hammie appreciates life.

Two terrier dogs snuggle face-to-face

Hamilton snuggles with Loka, his foster sister.

I wish that I could erase his past.

It’s evident that Hammie didn’t live the best life before PawsCo. He came to us very overweight, with skin issues, loss of hair on his elbows/knees, and nails curling under his paws. His fur was a brownish-yellow color. It was clear that he had been neglected, and probably for a long while. I don’t think he had ever lived in a house before.

The physical scars from Hamilton’s past will fade over time, but the emotional and psychological scars will linger for a while. Now that he has people paying attention to him and showing him kindness, he craves it. He is already very attached to us as foster parents.

He lacks confidence, which is apparent when he meets new people or dogs. He is unsure of himself because he likely hasn’t had a lot of great experiences with other humans or canines in his past life. He looks to us for direction and that is when I can tell what an amazing dog he really is–and what great potential he has for his future. We’ve been going to training to work on his confidence, but it will take time for him to live up to his true potential.

I wish he could find the best forever home.

While we absolutely love Hamilton, it’s not the right time for us to commit to a second dog. We have more fostering to do, and adopting another dog wouldn’t allow us to help other animals in need. Hammie is a special boy and he needs a “forever” commitment. But if you’re willing to commit to him, you’re going to be greatly rewarded with tons of love, unwavering devotion, and many laughs along the way.

I know that a “perfect” home doesn’t exist, but we plan on finding one that’s pretty darn close. Unfortunately, the longer this takes, the more attached he becomes to us. Though we love him, we want him to find his forever home so he can have an easier transition and can start developing a relationship with his new mom or dad. In the mean time, we’ll appreciate the time we get to spend with him because he truly is a great companion.

Can you make our wishes come true? Check out Hamilton’s bio to learn more about this adoptable dog.

Adoptable dog looks at the camera with flowers in the background.

Hamilton poses for the camera.

A Foster’s Love Note about Ms. Pamela

A white and tan boxer foster dog sits with a brown-haired woman, who foster's the dog

Ms. Pamela with Katie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Katie Meyer

Disclosure: I always have and likely always will enjoy pretty much any dog I meet.

Hi! My name is Katie and I am the lucky Foster Mama of Ms. Pamela (sometimes I refer to her as Princess Pammy, and her tail indicates that the title pleases). While the above disclosure is absolutely true…there’s just something about Pamela.

I have been volunteering in animal rescue for eight years now and have seen all kinds of animals from all different walks of life. Sometimes I know the story of who they are before I meet them, and sometimes I don’t. But most of the time, the story doesn’t matter. The resiliency of these animals is their most impressive attribute.

I don’t know Pamela’s story. But here is what I do know: In all the time I’ve volunteered, and with all the dogs I’ve had the privilege to work with or foster, no dog has shown more love and gratitude than Ms. Pamela.

A white and tan foster dog poses for the camera with a Brown-haired woman, who foster's the dog.

Another selfie for Princess Pammy.

All foster dogs have an adjustment period when they come into a new place. That first day Pamela came home with me I had to leave her almost immediately. I felt horrible, but had purchased soft blankets and padding to leave with her in the crate. I just hoped she would be comfortable enough to not destroy said blankets and padding.

When I returned home four hours later I walked in and Pam was sound asleep curled up in a little ball. I called her name; she sat up, politely waited for me to open the crate, exited the crate to give me kisses, and immediately broke into her famous Wiggle Dance. Well, that was easy!

I didn’t think the full transition into my home would be as smooth as that first stay in the crate, but it honestly was. After two days, she proved that she was fully house-trained and didn’t need the crate at all.

Now, I have never allowed animals on my furniture. Ever. I will never forget the first time I was lying down on my couch watching a movie and Pamela walked over, slowly put one paw on the couch, looked directly at me, and waited for instruction. I swear she was asking if she could hop on up with me. Well if you’re going to be so polite, little lady, get up here!

Pamela presses herself riiiight up next to me and is the best little spoon you’ll ever meet. It makes me feel like a million bucks, but she is also just as happy lying at my feet and enjoying the movie from the ground level. Good luck resisting the cuddles, though!

If you’re not into cuddles, once you find your bonding method with Pamela you will never question her love for you. Sometimes she’ll put a paw on your knee. Sometimes she’ll rest her chin on the edge of the bed when you’re waking up in the morning. Sometimes she’ll politely sit with you in the kitchen and take in all the yummy smells while you cook. She will show her love in any way that works for you. That’s just how cool she is.

It’s true what you’ve heard. Pamela gets veeeery excited when she sees other dogs. Sometimes she is so excited that her actions are perceived as rude. Fair enough. But we are working on this with a trainer who thinks that she will be able to learn to appropriately introduce herself. She may not want dog roommates, but I have faith in her ability to grow her socialization skills. She moved into my home fully house-trained and is already a master of commands. She is a smart girl. She will get there, all in due time.

My wish for Pamela is for her to find a home that will respect her, love her, and honor her sweet disposition. Are you the one for Princess Pammy?

Interested in becoming a PawsCo Foster and meeting great dogs like Ms. Pamela? Check out our foster page for more information and applications.

Adoption Event at Broken Shovels Farm

A small tan and white Chihuaha

Dolly, a 3-year-old Chihuahua mix

Our friends at Broken Shovels Farm were kind enough to host us for an adoption event recently. Our dogs and cats weren’t the only animals on hand, as those who came got to mingle with a farm full of goats. Some went home with the farm’s delicious goat yogurt, goat cheese, and produce. The event led to two successful adoptions and an additional application that is pending.

Check out our Events page for more fun happenings. Scroll down to take a look at pictures of our adoptable dogs and the farm’s goats. Click on the pictures of Dolly and Hamilton to learn more about them, as they are still adoptable (Goats not available for adoption, but perhaps you could make an offer to the fine folks at Broken Shovels).

Three women stand around a table at an adoption event

The PawsCo team showing off some kittens

A white bull terrier with a green bandanna around his neck

Hamilton, a 4-year-old English Bull Terrier

A black and white goat tries to eat a woman's shirt.

Sometimes, shirts are food.

Black and white goat eating a white shirt.

Yum

A little girl pets a tan dog.

Charlie, an 11-month-old mix.

A horned, white goat naps against a plastic tub.

Nap time.

A tan and white dog sits on a woman's shoulder.

Roxie, a 3-month-old Red Heeler.

Two black dogs, one wearing a green bandanna, and the other a red bandanna

Bear (left) and Stryker (right), a couple of mixes.

A small black and white goat takes a bite at a person's finger.

A goat protecting his car.

Two goats, one standing on the car, and one standing next to it.

A couple of goats pass the afternoon on a car.

Fostering Kittens Despite Tight Spaces and Travel

 

A small black cat lies on a floral blanket.

Edith Piaf, a PawsCo foster.

By Jennifer S. Heath, PhD

I always thought I could not foster kittens because I did not have space. My own family or pets required all the space my home had to offer!  

But then I learned how little space a kitten (or even a couple of kittens) needs. Depending on the kitten’s age, he or she may need just the space of an extra bathroom, laundry room, or large closet or storage room. Older kittens might appreciate the opportunity to romp in a larger space (up and down the hallway or a stairway?) a couple times a day and maybe see some real sunlight sometimes. Younger kittens may be safest in the bathtub or a large dog crate.
Some adaptation may be required to block access to those tiny spaces that only kittens can find (like the gap in the wall where the pipes come through, a small heating vent opening, etc). But when you foster with PawsCo, you are not alone. A team of experienced volunteers and foster parents can help you identify potential hazards and mitigate them. Usually those hazards are easily addressed using low-tech approaches like gaffers tape, duct tape, etc.

Those first two little boy kittens in my home made me smile each time I saw them! It is amazing to me that with so little space, and as part of the PawsCo team, I can help save the life of a sweet, innocent little kitten. And over time, not just one kitten, but many. Maybe you can save a kitten, too? Contact PawsCo to talk with someone about your situation and explore whether now might be the time for you to join in the movement to save more pets’ lives.
A small grey and black kitten sits on a bed.

Itsy Bitsy, a PawsCo foster.

 

I also sometimes travel for work, so I thought that I couldn’t foster a kitten.  After all, I can’t just fly away and leave the kitten alone. It’s expensive to board a foster pet, and kittens are generally too young to be allowed to board most places in any case. But when I foster with PawsCo, I am not alone!  PawsCo has short-term (temporary) foster homes that exist specifically to co help me during times of travel!  The short-term fosters will house (and love) my foster kitten(s) when I travel, and return them to me when I get home.

Of course, I probably would not take in a new foster pet if I knew I had a 2-week vacation coming up. But if a family emergency or work or vacation travel comes up while I have a foster kitten, PawsCo won’t leave me frantically searching for an option for my foster kitten–volunteers will welcome that kitten into a temporary foster home until she or he can be returned to my loving care. So, I can foster a kitten even if some unanticipated travel arises–the kitten will be loved and cared for in my absence, and can come back to brighten my home upon my return!

On The Way Home: A Transport Volunteer’s Story

A woman touches a dog in a kennel inside a van

PawsCo transport volunteer, Nelle, welcomes pups to their new life with PawsCo

By Judy Craddock, PawsCo transport volunteer
 

At least 10 others waited on the expanse of asphalt in the early autumn sun when I pulled my car into a parking spot and lifted the hatch. Two metal crates were wedged into my cargo area like puzzle pieces, waiting for the special delivery on its way from a rural animal shelter. When I volunteered to transport foster pets for PawsCo last weekend, I envisioned a short trip with a dog happily riding in the back seat, head out the window with that “freedom” smile on, ears flapping in the wind, eyes filled with anticipation of better days ahead.

However, several steps come before that dream can be realized.

Those of us who came to take these dogs to their foster homes waited patiently on the van. We chatted and paced in the parking lot until we saw the “Critter Cruiser” turn in. We gathered at the back of the vehicle as a gracious volunteer driver handed out the paperwork for each pet. He traveled hours with about a dozen dogs, and was as calm and engaging as someone who had driven without the canine symphony behind him. When the doors finally swung open, the greeting party began.

A small crowd gathers near a van used for transporting animals

Rescue representatives await opening the transport vehicle.

The ooohs and aaaahs...

The oh-my-goshes and the guessing of breed mixes…

The laughing at the given names, and whether or not they actually fit…

The melting of hearts over a crate of puppies…

The first real leash walk for many, stepping gingerly across warm pavement on the way to soft grass…

 

Four dogs sit in crates in the back of a van.

Rescued dogs await their next step

My co-volunteer Nelle took three of the dogs in her car, and I loaded a sweet Basset-mix and a terrier who looked a little shaken from the move. When the dogs exited the van, one-by-one, they were a little stiff from the ride, thirsty, excited, scared, and curious. As we departed, I noticed that some of the dogs seemed to say farewell to their road buddies, wishing each other good luck on the way to forever homes.

We arrived with the dogs at PawsCo headquarters–a warehouse space with bags of donated food, toys, and crates. A vet team member performed a quick medical check of each animal and a photographer captured each pet’s best side. Dogs got new collars, food and water, and some much needed wiggle room in the safety of the office. As each dog’s foster mom or dad arrived, there was another round of that same chorus.

Ooohs and aaaaahs.

Oh-my-gosh!

Melting hearts.

Woman wearing a purple shirt holds a black and brown dog.

Amy, a PawsCo Volunteer, Holds Bingo.

It’s impossible not to fall in love with each of these animals as they make their way toward forever homes. From being released from overcrowded shelter life, to the long car ride, to those double doors swinging open and the first steps out into the welcome party, each pet has a look of hope in its eyes. The best response we can give is to answer that with the promise of a safe and loving foster home on the way to that ride with ears flapping and the knowing smile of better days ahead.

If you are interested in becoming a transport volunteer with PawsCo, you can start by filling out a Volunteer Application.

 

Scenes from the Denver Pet Expo

Black and white spotted dog with a green collar

Scout, a PawsCo foster, found his forever home shortly after the Pet Expo.

PawsCo spent the day at the Denver Pet Expo a couple of weeks ago. Thanks to the event, two pets found new homes, and we introduced ourselves to numerous pet lovers. We saw dancing dogs, dogs dressed like Marilyn Monroe, and much more.

Take a look at some pictures from the Expo and check out our Events page for more PawsCo events.

Several women at a booth at the Pet Expo

The PawsCo team mingles with the crowd.

A white and brown dog stands on its hind legs to get a treat.

Frankie dances for treats.

A black and brown puppy lies in a black cage.

An adoptable puppy waits for his forever home.

A white and brown dog with a pink collar looks just past the camera.

Frankie rests at the PawsCo booth.

A woman lies on the ground to take a picture of a dog in a photo shoot.

Our friend, Deanna Hurt of StinkDog Photos, hard at work.

A small brown and white dog stands on  its hind legs to get a treat from a little girl.

Frankie dances for more treats.

A brown and black dog dressed up in a pink and black super hero costume.

Fashion show time at the Denver Pet Expo.

A little girl smiles with her face painted to look like a dog.

Meanwhile, the humans are trying to look like dogs.

Small black and white dog dressed in a Marilyn Monroe costume.

Marilyn Monroe waits for the fashion show.

Four Adopted Senior Dogs: Sharing the Same Tale

A woman sits with two senior dogs

Kate sits with her senior dogs, PawsCo alumna Addie (left), and Jackson (right).

By Kate Ahrens
Published in Grand County Pet Pals
 

On January 6 of this year, my nearly 19-year-old mini senior Dachshund, Celeste, died in her sleep. She was surrendered to a rescue group because her owner died. Celeste had been fostered since October of 2010. She came to live with me three years ago.

Had it not been for my friend Barbara, who adopted a senior bloodhound/golden retriever mix named Maggie, I likely would have never had the privilege of being the guardian of Celeste. Maggie’s person died and she was surrendered to a shelter. Maggie found a loving home with my friend. She went from a dog who never wagged her tail, to a dog who not only wagged her tail often, but leaped around the yard like a colt.

I’m a little embarrassed to admit that before learning of Maggie, I shared the opinion of so many people who don’t adopt senior pets; the animal’s age. They don’t have a long life expectancy. People don’t want the heartbreak of the animal dying sooner than later. My heart did break when Celeste died. However, it was so filled with love from my experience of having adopted her, it didn’t shatter.

People are also hesitant to adopt a senior because of “assumed” medical expenses. When adopting a dog, regardless of the age, you always want to get as much of the medical history as you can. This way you are able to make a well-informed decision about whether or not you will be able to adopt the pet. I found a wonderful pet insurance company called PetFirst Pet Insurance. They are thrilled people adopt senior pets and offer policies that are affordable. I paid $14.95 a month for Celeste’s coverage. That’s less than the cost of a take out pizza a month.

Max and Celeste, Kate's first senior pups.

Max and Celeste, Kate’s first senior pups.

In April of this year, my other dog Max died in his sleep while I was working. He was 15 1/2. I adopted him when he was one. Devastated? Absolutely. I made the decision that when there were two vacant dog beds in my home, I would adopt two senior dogs. I knew I could never replace Max or Celeste. I could, however, provide a home to two dogs who needed one. Enter Jackson, age 15, a mini Dachshund and Addie, age 10, a small mixed breed. Like Celeste and Maggie, their owners died and the dogs both ended up at a shelter.

Senior dogs and cats at a shelter are usually the first one’s to be euthanized. That’s because they are considered unadoptable and shelters want to make room for pets who will get homes quicker. Listed below are just a few reasons that they really are adoptable.

1. Senior dogs have already gone through the teething phase. So your shoes will look the same when you go to bed as when you put them on in the morning.

2. They have been potty trained.

3. They sleep a lot, so they don’t require entertainment like a puppy or younger dog. Maybe you can finish that book after all.

4. Their personalities are already developed. They will bloom when they get adopted.

5. They still enjoy going for a walk. It might be a little slow, but that’s perfect so you can smell the roses, too.

6. They can still learn new behaviors and enjoy toys.

7. They deserve a loving home to spend their final days, months and years in.

Some shelters and rescue groups offer discounts to those who adopt a senior pet. As I end this article, Addie is asleep next to me on the couch. Jack is sound asleep on the floor with his head resting on my right foot. They are home, they are loved, and my heart has a constant song.

A small mixed-breed dog sleeps on a couch

Addie, a senior mixed-breed and PawsCo alumna, sleeping soundly in her new home.

 

A Foster Turned Adopter

A white and tan foster dog sitting on top of a couch.

Jozee, the dog who found a forever home with Stephanie.

By Stephanie Svoboda
 

I first found out about PawsCo through a co-worker. I really felt that this was something I wanted to pursue, so I signed up to volunteer and foster. I had no idea at the time that I was about to get involved in an organization that was passionate about its mission, passionate about its animals, and passionate about its people. You see, I had just moved to Denver from Minneapolis, so I did not know a lot of people and this was a true blessing for me. PawsCo immediately made me feel like I had an endless supply of friends—furry and otherwise.

I became a part of the communications team to help with graphic design, creating stickers, postcards and a trade show banner for events. While working on these materials, I was instantly falling in love with every photo of every dog and cat. I decided to look into fostering. Having two kitties of my own (Murphy, the big orange one in the picture below, and Sydney), I was concerned about the dogs I would be bringing into my home, and what my little loves would think of it all.

Small, black foster dog on a table

Finnegan

After meeting my first foster, Raisin (Now Finnegan), I knew this was for me. I saw my fosters transform from scared and shy to excited, happy, and loved. Nothing can explain how good it feels to be a part of that transformation. It is true joy! Finnegan was such a fun and perfect first foster. One of the true blessings in fostering is getting to meet the families who adopt the animals we care for. I met the most amazing couple who Finn went home with. Being a part of the meet-and-greet makes handing over the foster I loved so dearly much easier.

My second Foster was Pippy, and she was a whole other experience. I fell in love with her. She was sweet, loving, loyal and just an all-around awesome pup. When I first picked her up she was shaking like I’ve never seen. She was scared, and had no idea what an amazing life she was about to live. I had to let her warm up to me, but as soon as she trusted me our bond started. I had Pippy for almost four weeks before her perfect family came to swoop her away. After a brief meeting at an adoption event this awesome family saw the potential. They were patient with her and gave her so much love. Another perfect fit. I saw it right before my eyes.

Small, tan and white foster dog lies in a dog bed.

Pippy

Not only was I learning about different breeds, what dogs need, and training methods, but I was learning that every pup has so much potential and there really is a perfect home out there for them.

Next came Harvey. I had Harvey the longest… and he was the most challenging. But he was also the biggest transformation. The day I got Harvey he destroyed my bathroom. I won’t go into details here, but after being spoiled with such perfect little pups I forgot the reality of having a 40-pound dog take over your apartment. Just 6 months old, Harvey required the most training and attention. I first saw this as a pain, but then I realized that this was a learning experience for both of us.

Considering where he came from and what his life had been like up to that point, in reality he was doing great. I sought out training info from the adoption team and it provided me with so many helpful tips and tricks for potty training, chewing, crate training, barking, leash/walks, and socializing. After a few unsuccessful meet-and-greets I was sure I would be raising this dog for the rest of his life (I can be a little dramatic). Then, it happened. Along came Harvey’s perfect family. He truly could have the space, attention, and pup siblings he had always dreamed of. I am so happy for him.

A black and white foster dog with short legs waits by a gate

Harvey

He left me a bit exhausted in the dog department and I decided to take a little break (for a week) from fostering. I decided to see what would happen if I brought a little kitten into the mix. It was a match made in heaven. I brought 10-week-old Theo (now Howard) home, and he instantly became best buds with Murphy (my cat). Of course, being an adorable baby kitten he was instantly adopted by his perfect forever home.

Tuesday has become my favorite day because it is the day I get to see the “Animals In Need List.” I would scroll through the short bios before seeing all the cute pictures. On one of those Tuesday’s I found the most adorable picture I had ever seen and I had to foster. Although I was on a foster break because I was going on vacation in just two short weeks, I decide to see if Kiera (now Jozee) was still available. She was and she would be coming to me that weekend. From the moment I met the little jumper, I knew we had a special connection. I knew she would be a hard one to give up. After hanging out with her for the day and cuddling up with her all night, I knew I just couldn’t imagine not having her. I put an application in for adoption.

Large orange cat cuddling with a small, striped foster cat.

Murphy embraces Howard, Stephanie’s foster cat.

After a lot of thinking, and the experiences I had with my other fosters, I knew this one was different. I loved all of my fosters, but Jozee was mine. She was mine from the moment I met her. I knew exactly how much work a 6-month-old pup would be, and I couldn’t imagine not helping her become the perfect pup in my life. Fostering helped me put things in perspective. It reminded me that a cute puppy face is so much more than just a cute puppy face. Every animal needs so much attention, love, training, and socializing. I couldn’t be happier to have Jozee join my family. She is the perfect pup and I love her dearly. Thanks, PawsCo for this unexpected, yet extraordinary gift.

Read another inspiring PawsCo foster story.

A Lady and Her Lily

 

Lily rests on the shoulder of her foster mom, Garnett

Lily rests on the shoulder of her foster mom, Garnett

By Garnett Smith

I received Miss Lily on April 12. Having fostered large dogs, I thought I was prepared.

Here is the Saga of Miss Lily and an Old Woman!

I got Lily on the afternoon of April 12. Miss Lily didn’t look at me. She just hung her head with a very blank look. She wore a “lost and never to be found again” look. The shelter and the PawsCo. vets thought she was a 10-year-old Teacup Poodle. Her nose was runny. The vets hoped it would stop running after they pulled her teeth. She sounded like she had bronchitis. Her hair was terribly matted. The vets did the best they could cutting her hair, but she still smelled like the animal shelter.

I live in an assisted living facility, and I am 71 years old. I have had only large dogs and I was getting a very small dog. I lost my adorable Lhasa Apso in December 2011, and my beautiful greyhound in January 2012. I was so lonely. I needed a dog to complete my little apartment. I had no idea the challenge I was up against, but Lily and I met the challenge.

Everyone at the facility wanted to hold her instantly. I refused to let them and explained that she and I needed to bond. But I wanted her to get used to human voices, smells, a gentle pat, and a kind word.

I checked Lily and saw that she was not spayed, and it looked as though it wasn’t that long ago she had puppies. I thought, “Oh dear God, this poor little one has been dumped, and she can no longer make money for her living.” Her teeth were rotten and wore down. This can happen when a caged animal wants out — it will try to gnaw its way out.

I put Lily out to go potty and just sat there and watched her. She tinkled and came right back into the apartment. I fed her soft food. My friend Judy fixed her chicken broth, and got her senior small animal Wellness dry food; my other friend Kerrie bought her soft small dog treats right away. Both friends gave her hugs and loves, and welcomed her into our fold. Kerrie and Judy are both great people.

Small black dog wearing a flowered shirt.

Lily shows off her new shirt.

I lied beside her when we went to bed that night and she wouldn’t look at me. She didn’t quiver. She had given up, and her little chin speckled with grey hairs told me a lot.

I thought, “Oh God, you gave me strength when I brought my first child home. Give me strength now because I am going to need it!” Little did I know.

The next day I spoke with my vet tech (Sarah is a Doll), and she agreed with me on the breeding and said that the dental surgery would take place May 7. I requested antibiotics, along with some type of arthritis medicine. Sarah went to work and got it for me. My little angel didn’t want meds. She didn’t want to live. But she liked butter, so down went the meds into her tummy.

I sat her in the wash basin on a towel and went to work on her hair do. I am not the best hair dresser, but at least one could see her eyes. They are the most beautiful black lined with white. I trimmed around her little long nose and she … why, SHE WAS BEAUTIFUL!!!! We went for a ride, me in my electric wheel chair and she locked in my arm. We visited with anyone who wanted to pet her and then we went over to the park. She walked a little, but she can’t walk far. She is handicapped! Her little front legs look as though one could have been broken and set with a board. On her other leg the foot turned out at the ankle.

I have a black male cat by the name of Murray Eugene, and he has quite the out-going personality. He greets everyone at the door, sits on my desk and makes himself very noticeable (Nice word for loving and obnoxious)! He felt Sarah wasn’t paying enough attention to him. Sarah bent over to pet Miss Lily in her bed, and Murray took a hold of Sarah’s jeans with his teeth. Murray had competition! Sarah said, “This is a first. I’ve had cats take a hold of me in different ways, but never by the pants!”

Miss Lily wasn’t interested in the cats, nor was she interested in me. The next day after I came back from lunch we went for a ride. She got pats and heard everything from “Oooh, she is so tiny and look how sweet she is,” to “Here Baby, have a puppy treat.” Miss Lily had no teeth, so I chewed up dog treats and spit them in my hand and she ate them — people were just thrilled!

A couple of days with me and she knew she was very safe. She started to walk from room to room, go to the patio door and bark at the squirrels that came up for a peanut. It was the first time I have ever seen a shocked look on a squirrel’s face.

She didn’t know how to play with toys, or get tummy rubs, under the arms tickles, or a sincere pat. I would hold her and she would go right up to the left side of my neck and snuggle. I would talk softly to her, kiss her back, and tell her she was loved and wanted. I told her how cute she was and what a smart little girl she was. I would say, “Lily, how did you know to bark at those squirrels?” She would just snuggle as close as she could into my neck.

She learned to tell time immediately. I was allowed 30 minutes for lunch and dinner, and 15 minutes to take off my makeup and brush my teeth. If I didn’t abide by her watch she started barking, and bark she could!

Small black dog with her tongue hanging out.

Lily lets her tongue hang out.

Who taught this dog to bark?

I decided that she needed a bonnet, ear ribbons, a T-shirt, and a cord. So off we went. She hooked her left front leg and left hind leg into my bra under my shirt and snuggled into the left side of my neck and I put the chair in “gear.” We had to cross a major intersection. It was my very first time and hers, too. We got across Mississippi Avenue and I pulled the electric wheel chair over and said out loud, “Oh thank you God.” I know Miss Lily said, “Ditto!”

We went to “Babies R Us” and I asked the cashier if I could speak to a clerk. A young lady came up to me and asked, “Can I help you?” I explained what I was looking for and that the hair on Lily’s ears is very fine so I needed a light ribbon tied in a bow. She looked at me and said, “We don’t allow dogs in the store.” I looked back at her and said, “Oh, well then Miss Lily will do her shopping elsewhere.” The girl looked at me and said, “Stay here. I will be right back.” She brought back a cute T-shirt and some bows with Velcro, which we bought.

Then we went another block to Petco. Immediately a very nice man showed me the light-weight cords, which were 12 feet long and embossed in plastic with a light clasp. He said he felt it would work just fine for Miss Lily outside the patio door. He then showed us the latest in bonnets and she picked a pink one.

We left Petco and went into Sprouts, my favorite place. We were looking for grapes. No one said, “We don’t allow dogs in here.” We found the grapes, got some blueberry yogurt pretzels, and left.

Oh dear. We had to cross that awful street again, but we made it. We have since crossed it many times, and each time we both thank God for the protection.

Lily had some problems with her mouth and she was in pain. I told Sarah, and she moved the surgery date up. I slept with Lily every night and positioned myself so she wouldn’t flop off the bed. I was so scared. Some nights I lied with her up against me and cried, “Please God don’t take her. She means so much to the residents here and me — especially me.”

Miss Lily also went to Canasta. The first game she lied across her new Aunt Carol’s lap. Between games her new Aunt Denise took her out to go potty. The second game she was with her Aunt Denise, but Mommy was always in sight. She enjoyed her evenings out.

I was so scared for her. I went on Facebook and asked friends to please pray for her. A volunteer came and got her. I kissed her and she left.

She was home at 5 that day! She made it! I could tell she was happy to see me. She was sleepy, so I held her in my arms until we went to bed, and thanked God.

Who taught this dog to bark?

Miss Lily still doesn’t know how to play. She and Murray touched noses, and I cried for happiness. She now will roll on her back on the bed in the morning for a tummy scratch and Mommy kissing her tummy. If I don’t do it … the little lady starts barking.

Who taught this dog to bark? I need my coffee!

I am looking forward to her playing with toys in the future, and not barking so much — but she is an excellent guard dog. My doctor comes on Friday, and she barks and he picks her up and hugs her. She gives him kisses.

Small black dog gives a woman a kiss.

Lily gives Garnett an appreciative kiss.

She gives EVERYONE kisses now if they just hold still, and she can wag her little tail. Her runny nose is almost gone. She has allergies along with high blood pressure, but her spirit is back!

Lily has come from shutting herself down to living a life full of love. Senior dogs have a lot to give. I have always looked for a dog at least five years old, but preferred at least seven. They are so intelligent, loving, psychic, graceful, and charming. True, they only probably stay with us for a short time, and we don’t have baby pictures or baby teeth, but we have a wonderful companion.

So if you are looking for a companion and someone to laugh with, get a senior dog. You won’t be disappointed.

Miss Lily is sleeping on my desk while I write this. Oh no, someone knocked on the apartment door close to mine.

Who taught this dog to bark?