Thursday, October 8, 2009


Taking in an older, sick animal is undoubtedly one of the highest forms of altruism. The payback is a few more weeks, months or, if exceptionally lucky, years of a good life for the animal at the risk of almost certain heartbreak for the owner.

A little over a year ago, a friend, Gudrun, took home a dog from Toronto Animal Services who was deemed too old and sick to be put into general adoption and would have almost certainly been euthanized. Gudrun gave Gretel a welcoming home and much love and when Gretel passed away a month ago, it was terribly sad, as is the passing of every cherished pet, but there was consolation knowing that Gretel had lived at least a good year at the end of her life.

Missing the pitter patter of canine feet, Gudrun started looking around for another dog, again focusing on seniors as those are the dogs most often overlooked by the adopting public. So, I introduced Gudrun to Mabel.

Mabel's age is a bit of a mystery but she's no young 'un. The TAS vet placed her at between eight and ten years old and while old age alone would not have failed her in the health test, her diseased kidney in combination with some other ailments did.

Gudrun met Mabel for the first time on Friday, and on Saturday, Gudrun took Mabel home.

Mabel is now Ursula and after a bit of an iffy start with Gudrun's cats, she's now settled in quite nicely. Let's hope Ursula's health issues don't prevent her from enjoying the time she has left, however long that may be.

Update on Ursula here.


borderjack said...

Gudrun - you're an angel. You've given me inspiration. Getting an older, 'special needs' dog has been on my radar for a while. I still have my first two dogs, both adopted as grown ups, and one specifically because of her age. Whenever I read Fred's blog, I want to run to TAS, but I'm at six pets, my by-law and financial limit - and as much as I hope they're with me, say, forever(!), when the opportunity does arise for another, I'd like to be able to do what you're doing. May you and those you love be showered with blessings!

borderjack said...

Wow! I just followed your link to Gretel. What a difference a bit of love makes! Ursula is a beautiful dog too. She's very lucky. you've got a great heart! Thanks for these stories, Fred.

Amy said...

God Bless, Gudrun. There are so many seniors in the shelters and most of them stand no chance of being adopted because no one wants a senior dog. What a blessing for these sweet babies - to know a loving home and to have a warm bed to live out their days.

My husband and I rescued an 11-12 yr old chocolate lab last Spring. She passed away on her own in February, after having her for only 10 months. She was the sweetest, funniest old lady, and she stole my heart in no time. I miss her terribly, but I wouldn't trade in the 10 months we had with her for anything in the world. It was heartbreaking when we lost her, but I would save another senior in a heartbeat. Its so worth it.

Anonymous said...

Now this is the type of story I love to start my day with........Thank you Godrun. You couldn't have ended up with a sweeter dog. Ursula is one of a kind.


House of the Discarded said...

I would love to rescue/foster a senior dog. I contacted Lab Rescue and offered to be a foster parent to a senior dog about 2 years ago. I called them THREE times and nobody called me back. I gave up and focused on the cats.

I'm not sure who is luckier - Gudrun or Mabel/Ursula. They're both awesome!


Ian said...

Special person meets special dog.
Nice match
Would love to see some follow up pictures when she knows she`s home.
She`s looking pretty lost and sad at the moment.

Lynn said...

I am in love with Mabel/Ursula. She is sooo beautiful! I just want to squeeze those two little white cheeks. I'm in love with you, too, Gudrun! You're awesome!

Rita said...

This is wonderful! Best wishes to all.

Cathrine said...

I met Gudrun when she gave some Srbijan dogs a ride from the airport to TAS. I'm not surprised at all that she would open her heart to the sick, aged and unwanted. She is every bit as fine and caring as these two stories suggest: if only the world had more like her, there would be no need for shelters at all!

Gudrun said...

Thanks for your kind words everyone. I'm glad there are others who adopt senior dogs. It's so rewarding.

It was awesome living with Gretel, the first senior dog I got last year. Julian and I are enjoying the new dog too - she's a cute bear, which is why we renamed her Ursala.

My empathy extends to all animals, so Gretel and now Ursala get a veggie diet.

I'll get some pictures of Ursala to Fred in a bit when she gets healthier and more settled with us.

Joan Sinden said...

I adopted my dog Buttercup as a senior dog - she was at least 8 at the time, and she acted like a very old dog - with bad luxating patella. After I brought her home from the SPCA she seemed to get younger and younger every day - and I've had her for 6 wonderful years - you never know what you get when you rescue a dog - that's the beauty of rescue. Love can cure a ton of problems - unlike what Cesar Millan and a couple other tv trainers will tell you! Senior dogs are great dogs to adopt.

Joan in Halifax