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Pet Fostering: Nolan teaches us about faith

Hi my name is Elisa and I am a volunteer pet foster parent, a Twitterer (@STLSeniorDog), a Facebooker and now a blogger as well. This is the first in a series of guest posts that I will be doing here at Grouchy Puppy and I am so excited and honored! In the coming months I will be sharing with you mostly my own adventures in pet fostering (and pet adoption!) but also stories shared from other pet foster parents.

I found out a few days ago that November is Adopt a Senior Pet Month so I will inaugurate my series of guest blog posts with the story of Nolan, a senior Australian Cattle Dog our family fostered last winter.

This old guy was left in an abandoned house and the St. Louis Senior Dog Project took him in after Animal Control picked him up. Nolan was in a pretty bad state and they could not tell if he was a boy or a girl because his hair was so matted.

Nolan had to be completely shaved and I can’t imagine the relief he must have felt at getting all that matted hair off his body. Ellen the leader of St. Louis Senior Dog Project first fostered Nolan and then he came to live with our family.

In the beginning Nolan was a bit grouchy. Not only was he in a new place but he was also recovering from a bad skin injury that had not been treated because it was hidden by all of that hair. On top of that he was showing signs of arthritis.

Our solution was to give him plenty of love but also plenty of personal space so he could get used to the new surroundings. We also started him on a special diet and medication meant to help him with his arthritis.

Over the following weeks Nolan recovered from his injury and started feeling much better overall (love and arthritis treatment do miracles for your temper).  He became a much happier dog and him and our Dachshund named Moxie were the best of pals. Everything was looking good for Nolan except for finding him a forever home. We were having a hard time.

You see, I have realized that there is a lot of bias against adoption of a senior dog and after taking Nolan to adoption events and hearing no one had looked at him, I got a bit panicky. I would tell my fiancé that Nolan would not get adopted and that he would be with us forever, which was no problem for me but I just felt bad that Nolan would never get a real home of his own.

This panicky state unfortunately settled in and grew.  I tried shaking it off but it was hard and then the unexpected happened: one Saturday my fiancé went to pick Nolan up from an adoption event only to find him gone. Nolan had found a home! I was shocked. I could not believe it. Yeah I know, talk about not believing in Nolan! And that is a little mistake I made. I didn’t give that old guy enough credit.

So what if he was a little slow? No problem. He went to a lower energy household. So what if he had arthritis? No problem. He went to a house where they already had another dog with arthritis and were ready to take on another one. So what if he was a senior dog? No problem. He still had lots of love and companionship to give and someone saw that.

Nolan is a really good dog that went to a really good family ready to open their arms to a senior dog. He taught me a lesson about faith and it was then that I started truly believing in my foster dogs. It is more difficult to find a home for a senior dog than a puppy but we gotta give senior dogs more credit -- each and every one of them is amazing and unique.

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