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Serial senior dog adopters stay focused on happy times together even after unexpected loss

I believe strongly in the power older dogs have for enriching our lives. Opening your heart and home to senior dogs is worth the inevitable future loss. Why? That answer varies for many of us, but it could be simply that you appreciate quality over quantity. I learned this from experiences with my beloved dog. After she passed on, I miss her but the feeling of gratitude I have for the quality of time we had together overwhelms any sadness.

When a loved one passes away, their loss can knock you for a loop, even when they are showing signs their time with you is coming to a close. Imagine the devastation when two loved ones unexpectedly go within days of each other? That recently happened to long time senior dog lovers and adopters, Karl and Jessica.

If you missed them, I recommend you read their three guest posts from earlier this year, about their senior dog journey: It started with Tara, Continued with Bobo and Jameson, and their journey is Destined to Continue.

Karl and Jessica shared their sudden loss in an email, which they graciously allow me to share below. I hope you'll read it and take away the message of how the enrichment you get from caring for and about older dogs, far outweighs any pain.


An update to our Senior Dog Journey

When you adopt senior dogs, you do so knowing that they may not be with your for very long. We have always been aware of that, and know that the point at which they leave us is just a small piece of their story, and we focus on all of the happy times we had together.


This past week has really tested our resolve. Last Thursday, we had to say goodbye to Siggy. She succumbed to a brain tumor that she had been struggling with for quite some time. She was no longer "living" but rather just "existing".

It was difficult to say goodbye, but we knew it was her time. Our journey got more difficult this week when we also had to say goodbye to Scout on Tuesday unexpectedly. He had developed a very large mass between his chest and shoulder blade that showed up overnight. The vet believed it had probably been there for a while, but was hidden and finally got to the point where it moved and was now making it difficult for him to breath and get around.

When I could no longer tempt him to eat liver sausage, we knew his time had come. Scout was always our vocal pack leader. If it was meal time, he would be the first to begin barking and get excited. This was always a sign to the rest of the pack that they needed to bark and get excited also.

When the doorbell would ring he would run to the door to sound the alert, and the others would follow. When I would come home from work, I could hear his bark from the driveway and he was always there to give me the biggest greeting when I walked through the door, with the other dogs trailing behind. Losing one was emotionally devastating enough, but losing two in one week has been crushing.

The attached picture was taken just a few short weeks ago. Siggy was looking to her big brother Scout for comfort as her tumor continued to progress. Siggy was only with us for a year and a half, and Scout for just less than three. Siggy was a little bundle of fluff that couldn't see very well and had clearly endured some mistreatment in her life.

Scout was always such a kind and gentle soul, and this picture epitomizes that perfectly. Somewhere across the Rainbow Bridge he is continuing to help and comfort her. We wonder if after she left that he knew that she would need him more and so he went to be with her.

Adopting senior dogs is one of the most rewarding things anyone can do, and we wouldn't change anything. We will continue to focus on all the happy times we all had together.

Karl & Jessica Schneider
Richmond, VA

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