November is Adopt a Senior Dog month. Now more than ever, we think about the older, adoptable dogs that are commonly overlooked in favor of active puppies. The dogs that have had lifetimes of experiences and have ended up in rescues and shelters, through no fault of their own, are often the last to find homes.
As Good as GoldGolden Retriever Rescue of Northern Illinois is close to taking in its 900th dog. That's 900 animals in need of foster homes, medical care and, eventually, permanent homes. Placing 900 healthy dogs is a daunting task, but when some are senior dogs, the challenge is even greater. Rescues and shelters everywhere share this mission.
Many seniors come to us perfectly healthy, while some come in with age-related diseases that must be treated, like cancer or osteoarthritis. We see dogs that may not be as fast as they used to be. Dogs that still love walks, treats and the company of their foster families. Dogs that are so very grateful for their second chances that they bond immediately to their foster families with a depth and intensity reserved for best friends.
One senior dog that found her way to us this year suffered from seizures. After extensive testing, we learned that she had a brain tumor. We're happy to say that it was successfully removed, and nine-year-old Lulu has found a wonderful permanent home in which she's treated like the princess that she is.
No one in rescue does it for the money. The happy endings keep us going. Knowing that we have found loving homes for these dogs, where they will live the rest of their lives surrounded by adoration and happiness, is a wonderful feeling. We're rewarded by knowing that we have brought such joy to families that can't imagine life without their furry friends.
Dogs are our friends, our confidantes, our teachers and our playmates. They give us unconditional love whether they're two or twelve. No matter their age, they deserve a chance at happiness. Visit a shelter or rescue today and see how wonderful senior dogs can be.
Colleen O'Brien is on the board of As Good As GoldGolden Retriever Rescue of Northern Illinois. Visit www.asgoodasgold.org .
If anyone has started dressing their pets for the holidays, send the pictures to WCTPets@aol.com for consideration to be in the pet section in December.
SEE PET FOR ADOPTION: www.windycitymediagroup.com/lgbt/PET-FOR-ADOPTION/19906.html