Imagine what it feels like to be a 6-year-old doggy past the prime of life, whose owner got old, too, and couldn’t take care of you anymore? Think how lucky you would be if you were a breed of dog that happened to have a network of rescuers – the Long Island Springer Spaniel Rescue – who could take you in, and help you avoid being put in a county shelter (where you’d surely be looked over for younger dogs- and maybe even given up on in a crowded environment).
Then think how much more good fortune you’d have to have to find a foster home through the rescue that would open their doors to you, and give you loving shelter and care until a new family could be found who would call you their own, forever?
Imagine how disorienting it might be to be moved around, have to fit into a household with other dogs you didn’t know, be served different food than what you were used to, in a different bowl at a different time and place? But still, to have hope and belief that one day there would be people who would open their hearts and you’d have a home of your won again, with dog bed in the corner of a bedroom that would be yours, all yours, to curl up and lay down your weary head?
I’m so happy to say I know there’s a very happy ending this Thanksgiving for one such Springer older lady. My friends Linda and Phil here in Vermont lost their first Springer a few years ago, blind and tottering and having lived to a ripe old age.
After that they didn’t go out to buy a puppy or start fresh, instead they wanted to give another senior dog a chance to enjoy the Golden Years. They adopted a 10-year-old deaf Springer from people in New York City who couldn’t keep her in their apartment anymore.
They gave her a great final four years of life, enjoying the Vermont woods and going everywhere with them. When she crossed the Rainbow Bridge they waited some months, took a long trip to faraway places, and got home ready to put a smile on another dog’s brown and white face.
This Thanksgiving they are welcoming their next lucky Senior Citizen and that sweet older lady doggy will begin the Rest of Her Life on a day when thanks are certainly in order. I want to tip my hat to all the incredibly generous rescuers, foster homes and adopters of senior or special needs dogs, who celebrate the importance of every life, no matter that it may not be “fresh as a Daisy” but is full of life and love to give and receive.
Tracie Hotchner is the author of THE DOG BIBLE: Everything Your Dog Wants You to Know and THE CAT BIBLE: Everything Your Cat Expects You to Know.
She is also a renowned pet radio host and producer, having spent 7 years on the Martha Stewart Channel of Sirius/XM with CAT CHAT® and even longer with her award-winning NPR radio show DOG TALK® (and Kitties, Too!) that continues to broadcast in the Hamptons and the Berkshires. Her most recent accomplishment is the pet talk radio network she has created on the Internet called The Radio Pet Lady Network.