By Janet McAfee
The small dog scurried down a dirt road in Desert Hot Springs, his throat parched from thirst and his belly ached with hunger. His sight was limited, and he wasn’t sure where to run for help. Desert Hot Springs Animal Care Center finally caught him, but no owner came to claim the little 10-year-old poodle at the shelter. There is no information known about the dog’s past, but he was badly matted and eager for human contact. Kat Palmer, animal care technician at the shelter, contacted Loving All Animals rescue organization about the dog they named Jacques, and they accepted him into their Pet Rescue Center Shelter.
Senior dogs are often overlooked in favor of puppies and younger animals, even by adopters who are seniors themselves. Older dogs deserving a second chance may not get one. Loving All Animals hoped that after some much needed grooming and vet work, they could provide the marketing and social media exposure that would get Jacques a forever home.
Jacques turned out to be a loving sweetheart. Due to his age, it was decided he would do best in a loving foster home. Volunteer Dolores Anderson offered to foster him. Jacques quickly came out of his shell, living happily with Dolores and her husband Keith, even enjoying outdoor concerts at the Civic Center Park.
Dolores reports, “When you help a senior dog like Jacques, your reward is the good feeling you get from helping a pup that might cause others to hesitate. When you get a senior dog like Jacques, he is already trained and ready to give a great deal of unconditional love. He loves to sit on our laps while we watch television.” Jacques loved his daily walks with the Andersons, prancing proudly through the neighborhood, happily greeting dogs they encountered.
Jacques is pictured here with Loving All Animals volunteer, Lisa Knox, after his guest appearance on the KMIR news pet segment. Lisa is a strong advocate for adopting senior dogs. She adopted a senior Chihuahua she saw at a public shelter recalling, “I could just tell from her eyes that she had been through a lot, and I’ve been through a lot too, so it seemed like a perfect match. She already knew how to be part of a family, and I couldn’t be happier to have brought a senior into my home.”
Senior dogs rock! They have the wisdom of having lived awhile, and they typically had some basic obedience training and are familiar with basic commands. As a bonus, they are usually house trained, unlike their puppy counterparts. The old adage, “An old dog can’t learn new tricks,” may apply to a few of us humans, but is not the case with most dogs. Older dogs are eager to please, and they enjoy the attention and mental stimulation that training sessions provide. Their requirement for exercise is less, and that attribute makes them a great fit for many busy families and an ideal match for aging adults.
There was a happy ending for Jacques recently when he was adopted by Signe Beck and Matt Stewart on June 3. Believe it or not, Jacques is not the oldest dog in their home. He has an older brother dog, 15-yr-old Stevie, a gracious Bichon who kindly welcomed Jacques to shares his doggie bed. Signe and her husband found Stevie as an abandoned stray several years ago when he was already a senior with vision problems. Stevie is now blind. Signe states, “These dogs are pure love! I don’t know why anyone would not take on an older dog.” Younger brother pup, Winston, watches out for his older siblings, and at times encourages them to be playful.
There are significant veterinary costs associated with rescuing shelter dogs of all ages. Some of them have never been to a vet before. As a senior, Jacques needed extensive dental work provided by Dr. James Clark D.V.M. Jacques teeth were very decayed, and one of them actually grew into the sinus cavity causing severe discomfort. You can help Loving All Animals continue to rescue pups like Jacques that need extra care to get their second chance. Donate online at www.lovingallanimals.org or mail a check payable to “Loving All Animals” to 44635 San Rafael, Palm Desert, CA 92260. Designate “Jacques” as the reason for your donation.
Next time you look for a new canine friend at a shelter don’t overlook that calm older dog sitting quietly in the corner. He has life to live, and love to give.