Celebrate "Adopt a Senior" Month: Breezie & Wiggles Ragan

written by Joan Ragan, November 2007

I hear all the time: We don’t want an old Airedale, they may die too soon. Well, people get over it. Stop thinking about yourselves and think about an old body who only wants to be loved and some peace and quiet in a warm bed and warm food.  

There are no promises of a long life to even a younger dog. I lost a 5-year-old that I got at 11 months from Rescue. Healthy, active and, all of a sudden, very sick and dead in 24 hours; heart enlarged and a few other medical problems that were never enough to cause alarm, or so I was told by vets.  

My next was Brandy, a 13-year-old wanting nothing but love and a nice warm bed, a few car rides and walks around the yard. She asked for nothing more and was loved and pampered for 11 months when her kidneys gave out. Brandy had  relaxing last months here.   

I missed her, but was immediately told about a 9-year-old tied to a shelter gate with a note, “We don’t want her anymore.” So, Breezie came here. Now 10 going on 11, she is a joy. She plays happy dance, loves to ride and wants nothing more than a home and love. Yes, her knee gave out and she had ACL surgery. She rested on her mat of four folded quilts and barked for her pillow to be fluffed, fresh water, please, and while you are in the kitchen a treat would be nice. If she could have gotten her paws on a bell, I would have been summoned for more pillow fluffing. She is doing fine.   

After losing a beagle of 13 years, I picked up a 10-year-old Airedale named Wiggles. It was to be a foster. That is not what was planned for Wiggles, Breezie and I. Wiggles spent the first three years of life in a wire-metal grain bin, no shelter, no shots, no grooming and weighed one-half of what she should. Rescued by a shelter, she was sent to a family who then started having kids. They threw toys at her, would corner her and hit her and finally she growled at them. Wiggles was out of there.       

This old girl is amazing. She follows me all day, loves to ride, take nice little walks and can sleep with her eyes open, surely from watching for kids to jump on her. She has now been here three months and is starting to play and is no longer afraid to go out in the yard alone. She only barks to go out or come back in. Her favorite thing is food, and second is clean quilts, the more the better, and she can stretch out and wiggle to make her body conform to the nest and give a big sigh and off to sleep the night through.   

To look at these old girls, sleeping and happy, makes tears come to my eyes. They deserve so much now in their senior years. The joy they give everyone who comes and myself who cares for them would not be traded for a younger dog.  

To all who pass these older dogs up: you are missing too much. Give up thinking about how badly you will feel when they pass. Of course, you will feel lost. But get over it. Let’s not let them feel lost while they are still alive. Give them a warm bed, love, food and kindness that maybe is the last kind thing they know. And, in some cases, maybe the first kindness they know.  

November is Adopt a Senior dog month. Give a senior its last home.   

We rescue them to save their lives. They rescue us and fill our hearts.

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