Giving Fearlessly to Senior Dogs During Their Golden Years

When you experience the love, devotion and joy having an older dog in your life, it's as if you've glimpsed heaven on earth. I will always remember my dog Cleo and how she made me feel as she became a senior dog.

As a way to honoring her positive influence over us, we're sharing on Grouchy Puppy beautiful images and stories involving the relationship between people and their older dogs, from Project Unconditional.

Read the following story about an amazing woman, who I admire greatly, dedicated to making a difference in the lives of senior dogs.  

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Photo: © Jane Sobel Klonsky, Project Unconditional

The Golden Years

Patty Stanton’s first experience with the joy of senior dogs was watching her childhood dog, Happy, age along with her. Decades later when it came time to adopt a dog for her own family, she luckily found Muttville Senior Dog Rescue in San Francisco.

When it comes to adopting a senior dog, the decision is easy for Patty. “They come with manners,” she says, “and what you see is what you get.” The gratefulness of adult dogs is apparent from the beginning too, and Patty relishes the unique opportunity to shepherd senior dogs through their golden years. Patty now serves on the board of directors at Muttville where she can continue her passionate commitment to creating better lives for senior dogs through rescue, foster, adoption, hospice, and education.

Project Unconditional by Jane Sobel Klonsky is a collection of photos and stories focusing on the powerful relationships between people and their older dogs.

Visit Project Unconditional for more photographs and information, and keep up with the project on Facebook.

 

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Guest Post: Including family dogs (and cats) in Christmas festivities

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?

 

oh my dog blog

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:

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Fostering Compassion: Opening your heart and home to senior dogs

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.

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Photo: © Jane Sobel Klonsky, Project Unconditional

Fostering Compassion

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.”


 
Visit Project Unconditional for more photographs and information, and keep up with the project on Facebook.

Project Unconditional by Jane Sobel Klonsky is a collection of photos and stories focusing on the powerful relationships between people and their older dogs.

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Dogs Make A Difference: A Family of Rescues

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.

 

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Photo: © Jane Sobel Klonsky, Project Unconditional

A Family of Rescues

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.

Visit Project Unconditional for more photographs and information, and keep up with the project on Facebook.

 

Don't miss out on anything, get the Grouchy Puppy blog delivered by email. Sign up here!

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Meet Tennessee Therapy Dog Team Shiloh and Sandy

The Grouchy Puppy motto is, “Give Fearlessly Influence Positively” inspired by people like Sandy and dogs like Shiloh. Together they spent six years as a therapy dog team in Tennessee visiting nursing homes and a children’s grief camp. They positively influenced hundreds of lives over the years by fearlessly giving their time and presence. The following is a first person essay about their experiences [...]

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Guest Post: How we handled separation anxiety with our older dog

One of the ways that Grouchy Puppy strives to educate is by being a linchpin between our readers and inspiring human-animal bond stories. Within those stories are incredible people, and experiences with dogs that we can all appreciate.

Editor's note: Every morning on Facebook and Twitter, between 9:15-9:25am PT, you'll find our question of the day. Each day everyone shares photos and gives each other valuable tips in the comments. It's a fun and engaged group. Sometimes a reader or follower has such a poignant story that we get them to come over to the blog so they can share in greater detail.

This is a special story from Gretchen, written in her own words. She shares her experience of adopting a senior dog, and how she and her husband has treated Baileys separation anxiety. It's a heartwarming story that many of us can relate, myself included. 

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Guest Post: Our Experience With Holistic Treatments (Part Two)

I believe that it's important for dog lovers to share our personal canine experiences in our own voice, which is why you will find occasional guest posts on Grouchy Puppy doing just that -- do remember Maggie's two-part series on pet adoption or Elisa's series on her experiences dog fostering?

Today, Jana Rade is sharing part two of a two-part guest post discussing her experience with holistic treatments. Jana is a graphic designer by profession and never aspired to learning about dog health issues until she met Jasmine. Unfortunately, she received a crash course in the subject due to Jasmine’s many health issues and has since become an advocate for other pet owners and their four-legged friends.

Our Experience With Holistic Treatments (Part Two)

Here is a little note: any modality is only as good as the vet using it. Truly. It is one thing to decide to go with either conventional modern medicine or alternative holistic medicine and it is another thing all together to find a vet who is good at it. I know people who curse holistic medicine just because they stumbled upon a bad apple and things went wrong. Holistic vets are good or bad just like conventional vets are good or bad. This is important to keep in mind. If you’re not getting the results you want, you might be using a wrong approach OR you might be using a wrong vet.

Jasmine

After our first non-traditional experience, I did change my point of view and always considered using holistic approach before resorting to conventional medicine. 

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Guest Post: Our Experience with Holistic Treatments

I believe that it's important for dog lovers to share our personal canine experiences in our own voice, which is why you will find occasional guest posts on Grouchy Puppy doing just that -- do remember Maggie's two-part series on pet adoption?

Today, Jana Rade is sharing part one of a two-part guest post discussing her experience with holistic treatments. Jana is a graphic designer by profession and never aspired to learning about dog health issues until she met Jasmine. Unfortunately, she received a crash course in the subject due to Jasmine’s many health issues and has since become an advocate for other pet owners and their four-legged friends.

Our Experience with Holistic Treatments

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, I was an oblivious dog mom. I figured that taking my dog to a vet and then do what they said was all I needed to do. In an ideal world, it should work that way. In this one, it often does not.

There were things they just dismissed instead of digging deeper for a diagnosis. And there were times when the treatment seemed worse than the disease.

And then there was the fact that Jasmine often had bad reactions to various drugs.

Jasmine

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What if shelters spent less time on blame and more on helping keep pets in homes?

Editor's Note: This is a guest post from Maggie Marton, of Oh My Dog Blog. Maggie continues where she left off last week, in "Take off your Judgey Pants: Let's Discuss Pet Adoption". Today she discusses how we all might benefit (the community, the owner, and the animal) if shelters and rescues concentrate more on helping a pet owner keep their adopted animal, rather than blaming them for surrendering the animal.

image from Pets Adviser

[Photo credit: petsadviser]

Maggie writes...[...]

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[Guest Post] Take Off Your Judgey Pants: Let's discuss pet adoption!

Editor's Note: This is a guest post from Maggie Marton, of Oh My Dog Blog. This is a topic that I'm interested in, and I'm thrilled that Maggie wrote about it. Some folks may not know that Grouchy Puppy is a place for people to have lively debates about sensitive topics. In the past we've discussed breed specific legislation, and the question "is animal advocate a kinder, gentler activist?" Our mission here is about education and elevating conversations, how can you do that without healthy debate? Now let's hear from Maggie...

maggie marton

Recently, two things happened at once that got me thinking about how we treat pet adoption, and Sharon was kind enough to let me tackle it here.

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The perfect holiday gift for the dog who has everything

I'm pretty sure that my spoiled pooches have more than they need. What do you get the dog who has everything?


Holiday card outtake #2

 

As a wise cat once said (thought bubbled?), "It's not the giving. It's not the getting. It's the loving." So, this year, I'm going to give the gift of love.

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10 unique ways to celebrate your senior dog

Having a senior dog is awesome. When life gives you awesome, you should make awesome-ade.

Um... you should celebrate it, I mean. Celebrate the awesome.

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If you're not sure how to celebrate your senior dog, no need to worry. I'm a blogger, and I'm here to help. (Which is to say... I've got you covered.)

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What do you tell people who don't "get it"? 5 responses to non-dog people

I'm a dog person.  Most of the people I know and spend time with are dog people. If you are reading this post I assume that you are a dog person.  But there are some people in my life, that I love dearly, who do not share my enthusiasm for dogs.  And for me, that is 100% okay.  I can't make anyone like dogs any more than they can make me like tomatoes or raw oysters.  What's important to me is that they accept me completely as I live my largely canine-centered life, even if they don't have the same opinions or beliefs.  What can you do, though, when dealing with someone who doesn't seem to respect your dog's place in your life?  What do you do when someone doesn't "get it"?

image from www.grouchypuppy.com

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Love is... a senior dog

A friend of mine recently attended a wedding where one of the readings was about how falling in love is like owning a dog. In addition to making me want to borrow a time machine so that I could go back and include this poem in my own wedding ceremony, it got me thinking about the ways in which senior dogs embody love.

Black & White Bella

 

The poem in question is "How Falling in Love is like Owning a Dog" by Taylor Mali. With a tip of my metaphorical hat to Mr. Mali, I thought I'd add a few verses of my own specifically about senior dogs.

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Life with Emerson

Keeping my dog happy and healthy is a top priority for our family. As he grows in his golden years, his needs have changed and care has taken on new forms. How do we make choices and decisions for his care that are best for him as a senior dog?


Emerson1

When I went to nursing school, I learned about the ethical principles that form the backbone of our code of ethics. Applying these principles to Emerson's care has helped me to make choices that are based on love, respect, compassion, and kindness.

Principle #1: Beneficence
This one's easy! The principle of beneficence represents compassion, promoting goodness, and taking care of others. This is the main principle I use every day with Emerson. Each day he gets a comfy bed, healthy food, emotional and physical engagement, and all the love we have to give. He also gets medicine to keep his arthritis pain at bay, and he has regular visits to the vet to make sure he’s staying healthy.

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