I don't know why but I am profoundly touched by senior dogs, and the people who foster and adopt them. This is why I am sharing a series of guest posts from Karl and Jessica Schneider. They regularly share their stories and photos on the Grouchy Puppy Facebook wall. I had wanted to have one or two of their dogs be a featured reader of the monthly newsletter, but then Karl sent me the most wonderful story of their journey into the world of senior dog adoption.
It is a long story featuring many dogs, and perfect for anyone interested in fostering or adopting a senior dog. They joyfully demonstrate the positive influence of a dog many times over.
Their story is long with each dog playing a meaningful role, thus I chose to spread their stories into a 3-part series. Their story begins with Tara, and follows with Bobo and Jameson. I hope their story resonates with you, as it has with me, and look forward to your comments.
Our Senior Dog Journey "Bobo and Jameson"
by Karl and Jessica Schneider
Jameson was about 10 years old, and had been at animal control for 7 days. His time was up. Fortunately, someone that worked there took a shine to him and brought him home. We scheduled a meet and greet, this time at the foster Mom’s home. As before, we had two dogs who didn’t immediately take a shine to each other, but Jameson definitely took a shine to me.
We told the foster mom that we would take him home right away. She was surprised, but could see the conviction on our faces. Jameson fit right in. They quickly became our “Grumpy Old Men”. It was like they had been together their entire lives. Jameson helped Bobo, and us, to move on from the loss of Tara.
They would antagonize each other, but there was never a cross word between them. One of our favorite stories is of the time that Jameson was laying on Bobo’s blanket in Bobo’s spot. He was very particular about his blanket and his spot. Bobo walked up to him and stood over him as we watched. Not a sound was made, but we’ve always envisioned the dialogue going like this:
Bobo: Jameson, you’re in my spot.
Jameson: So what, I was here first, go lay somewhere else.
Bobo: That’s my spot, why don’t you go lay somewhere else.
Jameson: I’m not moving.
Bobo: I’ll sit on you.
Jameson: No you won’t.
Bobo: I’ll sit on you.
Jameson: No you won’t.
Bobo: Yes I will. (at this point Bobo has begun to turn his body to position himself to sit on Jameson)
Jameson: Don’t do it.
And then he sat on him. It was one of the funniest things we had ever seen. There was never a growl or a bark. We have so many great Bobo and Jameson stories that I could go on forever.
Jameson was just an amazing dog.
When he wasn’t with Bobo, he was with me. He was my best buddy. We went to lots of places together and spent lots of time together. He would just lay in the front yard when I was working in the garage. I never had to worry about him walking away or having a problem with another dog walking by. He was just perfect. Someone clearly loved him very much before he came to us. He knew all the basic commands and was just extremely well behaved.
One day while coming back from a walk, he picked up the newspaper from the driveway and carried it into the house. Someone must have trained him to do that. We often wonder about the person that loved him so much and wonder what happened that he ended up at animal control. I wish there was a way to let that person know that we loved him very much and gave him a good home for the last years of his life.
Bobo and Jameson were together for just over a year when Bobo left us just before Thanksgiving of 2010. It was rough on us, but in his way, Jameson helped us to get through it. We didn’t immediately look for another dog, but our eyes were always open. We began to learn that dogs that needed us would come to us. I think Jameson enjoyed, and deserved, all of the special attention he received being an only dog. I tried to take him wherever I could. He was always good with new people and other dogs.
In early March of 2011, we found Addie Maye, again through the same rescue. This is where the story of our Addie May was a bit different. She was only 4 years old, and had been abused and neglected by her previous owner. When she came into the rescue, she was just 45 pounds. Today she is 95 pounds.
We knew that no matter what, the ultimate decision maker would have to be Jameson. We had taken him to see another dog at a local rescue, but that dog was constantly trying to bump into and contact Jameson. At his age, Jameson was not too steady on his feet, and would fall down when the other dog bumped into him. We knew it wasn’t right.
I was not immediately sold on Addie Maye, but Jessie and our daughter Miranda were. We had to do several meet and greet sessions with Jameson and Addie Maye. Since she had been abused, it took her a long time to warm up to new people and new dogs. This was actually perfect, because she gave Jameson his space. After we were sure, we brought Addie Maye home, and she has been with us ever since.
As we have come to learn over the years, we don’t really need to “look” for a senior dog to rescue, they find us. Less than a month after we brought Addie Maye home, we found Schnapps.
Schnapps was at our local humane society and was about 10 years old. Schnapps was also a wreck, much like Bobo when he came to us. He was unaltered, had terrible teeth, and had a large tumor on his front right shoulder. We had them bring Schnapps to our home for a visit, and that didn’t go all that smoothly. Addie Maye, as mentioned, was not good around new dogs, and Schnapps didn’t really know how to respect boundaries. None the less, we gave him a home.
I had to talk Jessie out of giving him back, because she was afraid that Addie Maye would hurt him. Today, they are best pals, but more about that later.
Next Wednesday in the final installment, Karl and Jessie's senior dog journey continues with two more dogs finding their way into the hearts of the Schneider family...