Senior Dog Adoption is one of my life's passions. It all began nearly 20 years ago with our adoption of Sissy, a dear one-eyed German Shepherd who had the sweetest maternal spirit of all time. We had four wonderful years with our Sissy, and I have always said if I could clone a dog, it would have been here.
Sissy passed away, but her sweet maternal spirit lived on in Wanda, a delightful one-eyed Border Collie who entered our life about a year later at the age of 7. Wanda had two eyes, but only one of them worked, just like Sissy. Wanda was the most smiley dog I've ever met, and I was heartbroken when she passed away last June.
While Wanda was still alive, we added two more sweet ol' ladies to our family: Laverne and Shirley. Crazy story: we actually found the dogs on Susie's Senior Dogs, a wonderful Insta/FB site that posts the profiles of senior dogs in need of adoption. We saw Laverne and Shirley on there and KNEW they were meant for us. I mean, we live in Wisconsin, home of the tv Laverne and Shirley, for goodness sake.
Both former breeders (likely puppy mill), these two came home at 10. Shirley is a mini-dachshund, sweet and cuddly. Laverne is a crazy-haired chi-poo (chihuahua poodle) who loves me fiercely and by fiercely I mean woe to the person who tries to approach me when she is on my lap or by me in bed because Laverne will shiv you just for daring to approach me.
In addition to Laverne and Shirley, the Universe brought me a wonderful new friend in Cheryl, who fostered our dynamic duo in Chicago after they were brought north on the PetSmart Rescue Waggin'. CHERYL IS A REAL-LIFE ANGEL ON EARTH. Just a few emails in to our exchange about them, and Cheryl and I became fast friends, and I love following her foster adventures and furbaby adventures (girlfriend has FIVE rescue dogs, plus a few cats, plus is a teacher. . . she is my hero.)
Our house was feeling a bit empty after the passing of Wanda, and the thought of adding another dog to our pack has crossed my mind several times.
As fate would have it, my friend Cheryl took in Myra earlier this year. As a puppy mill survivor, Myra and her last litter of puppies moved in with Cheryl shortly after their birth.
Cheryl posted Myra's story and pictures of the puppies on her social media. I remember thinking what a dear sweet dog Myra was and my heart went out to her. But at 3 years of age, she was too young for us, and a dog that young and that cute would surely be adopted right away.
Once the pups were all adopted, and Myra was spade and healed from that surgery, Cheryl began to post about her more and more often. Again, I didn't pay much mind, as at 3 years of age, she just didn't fit in with our senior pet rescue plan.
Then two weeks ago, I saw Myra featured as a Waiting Senior on Cheryl's Facebook page. My neck whiplashed as I did a double take. Myra is 13 (and a 1/2) years old. My skimming eyes mistook 13 for 3.
At that point it was clear. In Myra's big brown eyes I could see the same gentle, sweet maternal spirit that I saw each time I looked in Sissy and Wanda's eyes (well, eye, because they each only had one working eye), and I knew this girl was meant to spend her final years in our family.
Myra has been home just over one week now. My heart breaks about her prior life, which is so evident in her demeanor and behaviors. She shakes and withdraws if we reach our hands out to her. She does not want to be pet or picked up. She doesn't nip, bite, growl or bark. Her insecurity is shown in her cowering.
In a week's time, though, she has shown baby steps of progress. She'll sleep on our bed, and she now lays on my legs while sleeping.
Watching her run around the grass in the warm sunshine brought so much joy to my heart. I am so glad she is experiencing this. She absolutely loves going on walks, and here is a photo from her first trip on our local river trail.
With time, I am hoping she allows us to pet and cuddle her. If not, that's okay, because we respect her boundaries and will only do what she allows and is comfortable with.