Jed was one of 84 Labrador Retrievers rescued from dire circumstances in August 2000. At the time, Jed was thought to be 10-12 years old, had advanced heartworm disease, was malnourished, and it was assumed that his swollen lymph nodes meant he had lymphosarcoma. We adopted Jed, thinking we would be helping a sick old dog enjoy the last few months of his life. As it turns out, he was about 8 yrs old, and he had Ehrlichia not cancer. Jed was successfully treated for both Ehrlichia and heartworm, regained some much needed weight, and learned to become a house dog.
It was the learning to be a house dog that came hardest. We knew little of his past, but he clearly was untrained, not house broken, panicked when left alone in a fenced yard, and he was quite knowledgeable about escaping over chain link fences. We guessed that he had grown up as a yard dog with no training and little human interaction. We did know that in the situation from which Jed was rescued, he was nearly starved for several months, and had to fight with large numbers of other dogs to get what little food was thrown to them. He had bite wounds on his ears which had been open for a long time. His ears were massively infected and the ear flaps are deformed from a lifetime of ear infection and hematomas. When fed, he would approach a food dish with caution, reach in to grab a mouthful of food, and run away with it. It took months to teach him that he would never again be attacked while eating.
Time heals all wounds (almost all; years of heartworm disease left Jed with some permanent cardiac damage). It took almost a year for Jed to develop a real sense of security, but finally he became at home in the house, delighting in sleeping on a comfy dog bed at night, and secure in the knowledge that he would be fed every day. He ate with all our other Goldens, no longer fearful that they might try to steal his food. Jed’s true love in life was bumpers and nothing made him happier than to chase bumpers in our ponds. The colder the water the more he loved it!
Jed sends special thanks to the Heart of Texas Labrador Rescue and Golden Beginnings Golden Retriever Rescue for their assistance in his rescue and rehabilitation.
Jed was a true testimony to the joys of adopting an older rescue dog. We found it ironic that even without his health problems, Jed would not have been considered easily adoptable due to his age. Yet with a little training Jed became the perfect family dog, exactly the kind of dog most families are looking for when they go searching for a puppy or young dog to adopt. Jed was very affectionate and loving, wonderful with children of all ages, calm and well-behaved in the house, yet he had plenty of energy to go outside and play, and he was not prone to the destructive antics of puppies and adolescent dogs. Next time you are thinking about getting a puppy, consider instead the benefits of adopting a senior dog! The smile on Jed's gray face said it all!
Through spring 2008 Jed developed a number of age-related health problems. By the end of that summer his bad days were becoming more numerous and his care more intensive. Among of the various problems was difficulty digesting his food; Jed was throwing up often and starting to lose weight. At the time of his rescue in 2000, Anne made him the promise that he would never experience starvation again, and we had to keep that promise. We made the difficult decision to let Jed go while he was still enjoying life and before his aging body failed him totally. Jed left us on September 4, 2008. We estimate he was about 16 years old!
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