Holly was adopted from Golden Beginnings Golden Retriever Rescue of Texas. She was at least 13 yrs old when rescued and adopted! It is hard to fathom how anyone could let a grand ole gal like this end up stray on the streets of Houston, but that's exactly what happened to Holly. Fortunately she was picked up by a caring person and made her way to the GBGRR rescue program.
When found in October 2010, Holly was wearing a collar
* An ID tag that said simply "HOLLY" -- no phone number, no address, no last name, NO contact information!
* County registration tags from another distant state, with the year 1998 on them! If these are Holly's, she is at least 12 years, more likely at least 13 years old!
Holly asks every dog owner to remember that ID tags are still the #1 best way to reunite lost dogs with their owners. To be useful, ID tags must have one or more current phone numbers on them! They do not need a name or other identifying information, but without current contact information (a phone number is best), they are useless!
A couple of weeks after Holly came into foster care with GBGRR, we had to let our one remaining old dog go to the Rainbow Bridge. The household just didn't seem right without an old white-faced dog sleeping underfoot. For years we vowed to keep a spot in our household for an old rescued dog, and thought we'd look to the local golden retriever rescue programs to adopt. For years old dogs in need of a home found their own way to us, and we'd never had that opportunity to adopt from rescue. Finally, with Roxxy's passing, we were without an old dog, and it was time to call rescue! There are two Golden Retriever rescue programs in Houston -- how sad to view their web sites and find far TOO MANY senior (8 yrs or older) Goldens in search of new homes. We contacted GBGRR, were approved to adopt, considered several of their available seniors, and decided to go meet Holly.
Holly's foster parents, Jennifer and Scott Moody, welcomed us, introduced us to Holly, answered lots of questions about Holly as they'd lived with her for several weeks and gotten to know her well. They also asked us many questions, ensuring that we would provide a good home for Holly. By the end of our visit, Holly had charmed us and everyone agreed she could come home with us to her Forever Home.
It took our younger dogs a few days to accept Holly, but eventually everyone has settled in. Holly is a confident old gal who knows what she wants and isn't shy to let everyone know! She was already house-broken and has good house manners. Like most older dogs, she spends a great deal of her time sleeping. She's got some typical old-dog health concerns, but nothing worrisome. Lots of benign fatty tumors (lipomas) and warts, typical of very senior retrievers. For her age, she's very spry and appears to not suffer from old-age arthritis which is a blessing.
Holly is deaf. As far as we can tell, she has no hearing at all. She had horribly infected ears when rescued and her ear flaps are scarred, thickened, and deformed from a life-time of hematomas, suggesting life-long chronic and untreated ear infections. The infections are cleared up now, but she will probably never regain her hearing. Fortunately her eye sight is good and she loves food. With the help of food treats Holly is learning to pay attention, watch us, and is learning hand signals. It took only a few weeks for her to learn hand signals to Come, Sit, and Stay. She now Sits on a signal command and stays while her food bowl is put down. She's learned to look up, wait, and watch for the signal that she is released and can eat her meal! Of course this smart old dog also quickly learned that if she doesn't want to obey, she can look away -- her version of "I can't HEAR(see) you!" We're working on that!
Holly is also learning to respond to an pager on an electronic training collar. The "PAGER" option causes the collar to vibrate, just like a pocket pager or cell phone ringer set on vibrate. Holly is learning to look at us to get a food treat when she feels the collar "page" her. Looking at us is essential to being able to communicate with her. The e-collar pager gives us a long-distance means to 'reach out and touch' Holly, to let her know we require her attention. Our goal is for her to be able to safely enjoy off-leash walks around our ponds.
Many people have told us that they could not possibly
adopt a senior dog! My response is this:
If you feel this way too, ask yourself what would happen to your own dog if some calamity befell you when your dog was in it's senior years. If no one was willing to adopt an older dog, what would be the fate of your own if the worst happened? Surely you would hope there was a loving home out there willing to welcome your dog and care for them in their sunset years. If you would wish that for your own dog, why not offer to another's dog in need? 12 year old Chance came to us when his owner was severely disabled by a stroke, something she never could have anticipated or planned for. 11 yr old Roxxy's owner was diagnosed with terminal cancer at a fairly young age. How could one NOT help these dogs?
Adopting a senior dog does mean you won't have a full life-time with the dog. You know that going in, and it does make it easier in the end. To see the smile on an old dog's face is something special. To know that you've brought them happiness in the sunset of their lives -- that's no trivial thing! Of course, you never really know how much time you might have -- Chance, Kai, and Roxxy were all with us 2 to 3 years! We thought Jed had cancer and would only be with us a few weeks or months -- wrong! -- we had EIGHT YEARS with Jed!
Hollys says --- PLEASE, if you can find the space in your household and the love
in your heart,
consider adopting a senior rescued dog!
Golden Beginnings Golden Retriever Rescue of Texas (greater Houston area)
Golden Retriever Rescue of Houston (greater Houston area)
Golden Retriever Club of America (nation-wide rescue listing)
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