Including our senior dog Cleo into our family holiday traditions was fun but it always included food. In no uncertain terms she told us no amount of dog treats or the coveted chicken liver would get her to wear a Santa hat for the holiday card, but she would take that trade if it meant wearing a ringlet of bells around her thick furry neck for five seconds. We also paid her in salmon treats to quietly sit and let our visiting 92 year old aunt take photos with her. How do you incorporate your dogs into your family traditions?
Read this fun guest post by Maggie Marton, a friend of all things Grouchy Puppy, describing her wonderful family tradition of creating a special Christmas dinner for their herd of dogs and a cat:
As a way to honoring our senior dog's positive influence over us, we'll be sharing on Grouchy Puppy beautiful images and stories involving the relationship between people and their older dogs, from Project Unconditional.
Read this story about a wonderful family who opens their hearts and home to frightened older dogs. They offer compassion and love to those who need it the most, senior dogs looking for a forever family.
Photographed here with their senior rescues Stella (11, French bulldog), Roxy (11, Chihuahua-Dachshund-mix), and Cocoa (10+, Chihuahua-mix), Joe and Rafael introduced me to Patty Stanton and my new friends at Muttville Senior Dog Rescue in San Francisco.
Joe and Rafael’s first senior foster dog was named Misty Kay Maybelline. She was, as Joe describes, “odd looking,” but they quickly fell in love with this “cranky old lady.” Misty Kay became a permanent member of the family until she passed away three years later, and during that time many more dogs came and went from their home.
Over the past few years, Joe and Rafael have fostered around thirty senior dogs in need. Theirs is a safe and caring home for senior dogs in a moment of difficult transition. “Saying goodbye to our foster dogs is always bittersweet,” Joe says, “and although we miss every single one of them, the need is too great not to continue. So with a heavy heart we say goodbye, wipe the tears away, and then say hello to the next frightened dog.”
Happy Thanksgiving to all the dog lovers out there! Today I give thanks for you, the reader, commenter, follower and friend. If you know anything, I expect you already know how thankful I am for my beloved old dog Cleo, however now I want to make sure you know how thankful I am for everyone who takes the time to comment here, on Facebook and Twitter, even on Pinterest and Instagram!
This year I lost my sweet old dog Cleo. She was my first adopted dog. I say first because our experience of having her as a member of our family was so completely life changing, odds are we'll be adopting future canine family members. My husband and I remain incredibly grateful for having had the chance to bring Cleo into our lives and family.
As a senior dog, life with her only got better too. As a way to honor her positive influence over us, we'll be sharing on Grouchy Puppy beautiful images and stories involving the relationship between people and their older dogs, from Project Unconditional.
Jean Kind is surrounded by rescues. “Everyone is a rescue in my family,” she says. Each dog that arrives at Jean’s home has its own unique story, and in the face of the enormity of the need in rescuing abandoned dogs, these stories have helped Jean realize how profound it can be to make a difference in the life of one dog in the moment.
Jean has been involved with Grateful Dog Rescue in San Francisco for many years. Her work with rescue dogs in that time has made a profound impact on her life too. “As it turns out,” she says, “I thought I was making a difference in their lives when all along they made all the difference in mine.”
Project Unconditional by Jane Sobel Klonsky is a collection of photos and stories focusing on the powerful relationships between people and their older dogs.
This Thanksgiving I’m thankful for my dog Cleo. Yes, you may have read she passed away surrounded by salmon treats and love in late September, but I’m still so very thankful for her presence. You see, she is still with me. I feel her positive influence every time I engage with Grouchy Puppy followers on Facebook or Twitter, or readers of the blog here.
Since I've always been a "glass half full" kind of girl, I thought I'd share why even in my grief, I can find reasons to be thankful for my dog [...]
Five reasons I'm thankful for my dog this Thanksgiving
People are learning that when you choose senior dog adoption there is incredible joy and companionship to be experienced. The couple in this story explain how every new canine family member adds a wonderful heartfelt dynamic to their home, and that it only took adopting one older dog to convince them that giving senior dogs a second chance is their mission.
"They are so grateful to be in a home again," Pamela says. "I think that they have a level of understanding far beyond what some people give credit for."
It wasn't easy to see my old dog pass on ahead, but I am determined to focus on the good that came from our time together. She inspired hundreds of good deeds over our nine years together. We raised money for local senior dogs during her #Cleo8 homecoming day celebration. She inspired a major pet company to donate an inventory scanner to a pet food bank. Throughout her life with us, Cleo's very presence walking down the street inspired smiles from children and adults alike.
Taking a page from Cleo's playbook, I wanted to share five ways that we tried to give fearlessly following her passing. Helping other dogs and dog lovers feels like something Cleo would want us to do. She came from a rural county shelter and knew hardship before us. As a part of our family Cleo knew love, good food, a healthy environment and a warm bed. Why not pay it forward?
Passing by adorable dogs waiting patiently, and sometimes not so patiently, for their people makes walks in the city perfect. I love seeing their expectant faces, and I'll admit to hoping I can get them to glance my way or even better, want to give me a little lick on my fingers.
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My dog loved chasing birds. As a senior dog, when we went for a walk around the block, she lurched toward every slow-moving pigeon. In her younger days, when we made it over to Crissy Field, Cleo's favorite game wasn't playing fetch but racing across the grass chasing low flying birds! If a dog could laugh from the excitement mine did. She never caught one but I don't think she wanted to, it was the thrill of the chase that she loved. You could almost say she was a professional bird chaser, like a certain Mr. Lunch.
J. Otto Seibold and Mr. Lunch. On view November 20, 2014–March 8, 2015. The Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco.
I'm excited to share that this winter, dog lovers young and old can enjoy a special family-friendly exhibition in San Francisco that explores the work of beloved children’s book illustrator J. Otto Seibold and Mr. Lunch. This Bay Area artist who pioneered digital design for children’s books 20 years ago is the focus with the exhibition based on his three books that imagine the exploits of a professional bird-chasing dog: Mr. Lunch Borrows a Canoe, Free Lunch, and Mr. Lunch Takes a Plane Ride.
Nine years ago today we brought our sweet big dog Cleo home from the San Francisco SPCA. She gave us everything anyone can ask for from a dog, or a person for that matter. Our life together motivated me to create Grouchy Puppy and this blog. Her deeds inspired our motto Give Fearlessly Influence Positively.
Some people may remember the #Cleo8 party we threw for her last year. We partied on Facebook and we celebrated on the blog all day! We loved all of the sweet wishes and photos that were sent to Cleo. It was wonderful to witness her positive influence over so many people from all over the world.
Sadly we had to say goodbye to Cleo in late September this year. To honor her memory, and maybe inspire you a little, today, on her special homecoming anniversary, we share five untold stories about this Grouchy Puppy muse and incredible senior dog [...]