Volunteering at a senior dog rescue has exposed me to all sorts of dogs arriving for different reasons. Some dogs are strays, others have the misfortune of having their person pass away unexpectedly. Everyone agrees that all the dogs are loved no matter where they come from, or why they are with us at this advanced age.
Something that gets people to dance around is the subject of dogs who get surrendered by a family. I've heard people take absolute positions on this. They feel that if you decide to have a dog then you better keep that dog no matter what. These people have little empathy or compassion for anyone giving up a dog.
I have a more nuanced response thanks to dogs like Otis.
This big lovable blend of Australian shepherd was recently surrendered to Muttville because his previous family had an unexpected change in their living situation.
Rather than thinking something was wrong with him because they didn't keep him, after having him for over ten years, I chose to have a compassionate response.
I looked at Otis and silently thanked his family for raising such a sweet and loving dog.
I also forgave his family. I only had to spend a little time with Otis to see the folly of taking a hard view of them. His beautiful demeanor and openness spoke volumes of his previous life. How could you not be grateful for the care they clearly showed him?
This big dog reminded me that if not for someone surrendering my own big adult adopted dog all those years ago, we wouldn't have had our wonderful life together. That is a terrible thought.
Otis will show his new family what it feels like to be loved by a big dog. He will teach all who meet him, like me, how dogs give fearlessly. His positive influence over us will teach you about the value of focusing on the now, and ignoring negative noises.
Otis will show everyone why senior dogs rule, and that, is all that really matters in my book.