UPDATED Feb 26:
Zena has done very well with her recovery. And now that she is well enough to have been re-evaluated the shelter reports that she is approximately 8 years old - not as old as originally thought. But she is still looking for her home. If you are interested in adopting Zena please contact The Rescued Unwanted Furry Friends organization or email firstname.lastname@example.org. UPDATED Feb 19:
Zena is recovering nicely from her surgery. She still needs a home that will take her in when she is well enough and RUFF Rescue desperately needs help to cover her medical bills and to care for the remaining dogs they are housing. If you can help please contact The Rescued Unwanted Furry Friends organization or email email@example.com. UPDATED Feb 15:
Zena is ill and is at the vet undergoing x-rays and blood work. She has a kidney infection and may have pyometria. If so she will require surgery. Once again, RUFF Rescue has lost their funding and needs help to cover these bills. If you can help please contact The Rescued Unwanted Furry Friends organization or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
UPDATED Feb 13: Zena is still looking for a rescue or family to take her in and continue her care. But RUFF reports that she is moving much better since getting the Rimadyl, has been wormed which has stopped the rectal bleeding, and is eating like a champ. But she still needs our help. Can anyone step up for this little lady?
Original Post Feb 11, 2012
This beautiful purebred yellow lab was found lying on the side of the road in front of the Rescued Unwanted Furry Friends
She couldn't get up and was bleeding from the rectum so they thought she'd been hit by a car. But apparently she was a dump job! They've named her Zena and have stated that she is 'very old' and has arthritis. She also has a great deal of hair loss from biting herself due to a flea allergy. Can anyone explain to me how someone could have a dog this long, let it get in this condition and then just dump it! And don't tell me finances. Because if that's the reason there are several ways to turn you pet over to a place or an organization that will give it the required care. Anyway -- the good people at 911RUFF gave her Rimadyl for the arthritis, cleaned her up, and cooked her some chicken and noodles just so she would eat. And she did! And she's moving a bit better now. She will probably need to stay on an arthritis medication such as Rimadyl and may need some other medical attention to deal with the flea allergies and resulting woulds.The Rescued Unwanted Furry Friends organization (aka: RUFF)
happens to be the organization that I blogged about yesterday
that is in danger of shutting down due to the lack of funding since the Gulf Oil Spill. They really did not need to have another needy dog dumped on them like this right now. We are desperately seeking a Senior Dog Rescue that can step in and help Zena get well and find a safe place to live out her remaining time. If you can help please contact email@example.com
There are many factors that affect a dog’s overall health at every age and stage of life. These factors include such things as balanced nutrition, regular veterinary check-ups and care, proper grooming and exercise. But how do you know how much and what type of exercise is best for your older pet. Well, the best answer is, let them tell you. YES – they will tell you if you pay attention to their behavior.
First of all pay attention to your dog’s weight at all ages. Make adjustments to their diet and activity levels as necessary to keep them in the best possible shape. BEWARE though, no fad or starvation diets for our four legged friends. If feed your friend dog food there are various formulas available to keep them healthy. If you make your own dog food pay attention to what they need for their age and overall health. For example, puppies need both more calories and more feedings per day than an older dog. Like people, overweight dogs are more inclined to develop health issues, especially as they age.
Exercise is vital not only to a dog’s physical health but also to their mental state. Most dogs were bred for a ‘purpose.’ And so they feel that they need a ‘job’ to do. Some dogs will consider fetching a stick or a ball to be their ‘job’ while others might need to walk the perimeter of their property to assure themselves that everything is safe and in order. Dogs who are not physically and mentally satisfied by their activity level are more likely to develop what we see as behavior issues such as chewing, barking and digging. If your dog is misbehaving in such a manner it likely needs more exercise.
OK – so how does your dog tell you how much activity it needs? Consider what you’ve always done for fun and exercise with this pet.
Has your dog always initiated or recognized playtime by bringing you a ball, a rope, a stuffed animal or any other toy. As long as your pet still brings you the toy it still wants to play. But if you notice your dog is a little slower when chasing down the toy or a little slower returning with the toy simply don’t throw it as far and / or as many times. Let your dog rest a bit between fetches.
Does your dog bring you the leash when it’s time for a walk or become excited when he sees you get the leash. Great – he still wants to walk. This is easy to adjust. Maybe long walks should be cut down to twice per day instead of three times. Or you can take shorter walks or slower walks. Let your dog set the pace as it gets older. And pay attention to whether the dog slows down considerably more on the way home. That might be an indication that the round trip is too long. So cut it down a bit.
Did your dog grow up enjoying the agility track? You can still do that. Again – simply allow the dog to exercise at the pace it is comfortable at. Don’t encourage him to increase his speed. And if you’ve noticed any lameness or have been advised that your dog has arthritis or back issues avoid jumping. Jumping can not only cause severe discomfort for an arthritic dog but also severe injury for dogs with spinal or disc problems.
If you have access to dog parks it’s a great place to let your pet roam and set its own pace. Those that are still able and wanting to run and jump will do so. Others will simply enjoy walking around to investigate and socialize. Especially if your dog is an ‘only pet.’ I must admit it has been my experience that having multiple dogs seems to keep the older ones active and alert. I had a pug that lived to be seventeen and I really believe it was because she knew her ‘job’ was to teach the ‘house rules’ each new rescue pup that came into the house. She also acted as the mediator whenever we brought in a rescue or foster pup that seemed not to like one of the dogs already in residence.
I would offer the following cautions, however, when exercising any dog, especially your senior citizen furry friend:
- Don’t push a dog to do more than it wants to or is comfortable with. If your dog tires – STOP. If your dog does NOT seem to want to jump on or off something, don’t make it.
- If your dog seems to be slowing down or limping but still trying to play – STOP. Some dogs just don’t want to stop. Maybe because they don’t know when they’ll get another chance. Try playing more often but in shorter sessions.
- Beware of the surface you are playing on. Rough surface such as tennis courts, basketball courts and even streets and sidewalks can really damage the pads of a dog’s feet. If you notice that your dog’s pads are red, hot, split or cracked STOP immediately. Cool his feet down with cool wet rags, a baby pool, the bathtub or hose. Then be sure not to repeat the activity that caused the problem until the feet are completely healed. Remember that your dog’s pads can be damaged by hot surfaces in the warm weather AND by ice, snow and salt in the cold weather. In this case wash your dog’s feet thoroughly with warm wet clothes as soon as you go inside.
- Finally, keep your dog hydrated before, during, and after playtime. This statement is true for dogs of all ages. Clean, fresh water should be available to your dog at all times.
A Guest Blog Submitted by Timmy's Mom, Karen
I had known for quite a while that I needed a pet. I had been alone and wanted a dog to love--a dog that especially needed to be loved, perhaps more than most. I believed it would be best to adopt a dog from one of the local shelters.
During a lunch break at work one day I was browsing online, not particularly looking for a dog that day but somehow, suddenly, staring back at me on the computer screen was the face of a dog. I immediately knew this was my dog! He was a light reddish color with floppy ears, a terrier mix of some sort and they had named him Lil Pete. He wore a little red bandana around his neck. His story was a sad one. I read that he was 9-10 years old and recently had been rescued from a kill shelter. His life had been spared, but the only life he had known was one of terrible abuse and neglect. Well, Lil Pete, all that is changing today! You have yourself a home where all you will know is gentle love and kindness. Never again will you be mistreated.
I called the shelter immediately to inquire as to his availability. Yes, Lil Pete was still there and he was available.
It was still early enough in my lunch hour to make a hurried trip to the shelter to see Lil Pete. Rather than inquire as to his kennel location, I wanted to find him myself. I searched rows and rows of kennels, finally discovering the small dog rows and there was Lil Pete! He was lying on the concrete floor, head on his paws. I spoke to him to get his attention. He wouldn't look up. I tried again, telling him he was leaving this place and we would be best friends forever. Sadly, Lil Pete never moved or looked up at me. He was the saddest dog I had ever seen. Other dogs in the kennels bark and jump and at least look at you, but not this one. Not Lil Pete.
I told him I would be back to take him home and went to the adoption window to tell them I would adopt Lil Pete. Since my lunch hour was almost over I had to return to work. They would be closed when I got off work so I would have to wait until the next day at lunch to take Lil Pete.
That evening I visited the local pet supply store and bought a collar, leash, doggy clean-up bags, treats, toys, food bowls, and a new blue camouflage print bandana.
Despite my employer's disgruntlement, I took the afternoon off on the following day so I could adopt Lil Pete and spend time with him.
I excitedly drove back to the shelter, went through the adoption process, paid the fee, and Lil Pete was brought out from his kennel to me.
"Don't let him near your face," I was told. "He may try to bite." We took off the red bandana and put on the new blue one. I took him in my arms and asked if they would please take a picture as this adoption might someday make a good story. They took the picture and I left with a little dog in my arms who immediately got his new name. "Come on, Timmy. We're going home."
Timmy trembled for the entire 30-minute drive home. He was terrified. He sat on the console between the front seats facing backwards, his head tucked under my arm. I spoke gently to him and stoked him as lovingly as I could. "It's ok now, Timmy. You will see. It's ok now. You are safe."
This October Timmy and I have been together for three years. He never once tried to bite me. He has learned he no longer has to flinch when I reach down to pet him. He doesn't have to panic any more when he hears footsteps behind him or when he sees a broom.
Timmy is still a very shy dog, but he has come to a level of trust he never had before. It has been a growing relationship that is still growing. He is becoming more willing to accept strangers. Best of all, Timmy has learned that he is lovable. I don't think there is anything more valuable than that in this life.
"Let's go, Timmy!" You can also visit Timmy on his You Tube Channel.
Have you ever considered adopting a dog - what about an older dog? Older pets are actually a better match for some people, including older people! Here are the top 10 reasons for considering the adoption of a senior dog:
1. Older dogs are house-trained. You won't have to go through the difficult stage(s) of teaching a puppy house manners and mopping up after accidents.
2. Older dogs are not teething puppies, and won't chew your shoes and furniture while growing up.
3. Older dogs can focus well because they've mellowed. Therefore, they learn quickly.
4. Older dogs have learned what "no" means. If they hadn't learned it, they wouldn't have gotten to be "older" dogs.
5. Older dogs settle in easily, because they've learned what it takes to get along with others and become part of a pack.
6. Older dogs are good at giving love, once they get into their new, loving home. They are grateful for the second chance they've been given.
7. What You See Is What You Get: Unlike puppies, older dogs have grown into their shape and personality. Puppies can grow up to be quite different from what they seemed at first.
8. Older dogs are instant companions -- ready for hiking, car trips, and other things you like to do.
9. Older dogs leave you time for yourself, because they don't make the kinds of demands on your time and attention that puppies and young dogs do.
10. Older dogs let you get a good night's sleep because they're accustomed to human schedules and don't generally need nighttime feedings, comforting, or bathroom breaks.
Now of course not all of the points mentioned above will be true for every dog. But one thing will be very true and a huge advantage. A reputable rescue will have temperament tested the dog. You will know if it likes or dislikes other dogs, cats, women, men, children, etc. And this will help to assure that the dog you are interested in is in fact a good match for you, your family and your lifestyle. That way everyone involved in the process can have confidence that this adoption will result in the dog being placed in his forever home.
There are several rescue and welfare organizations that specialize in placing senior animals. There are also special programs that match senior citizens with senior animals that will fit their living situation and even assist with the costs of owning an animal. If you are interested in learning more about senior dogs or these match programs please refer to the Rescues for Senior Dogs section.
Older dogs and dogs with arthritis not only need activity but actually want it. There are ways to exercise your dog, mentally and physically, regardless of their mobility issues. But before you start be sure that your dog’s issues are, in fact, due to natural aging and / or arthritis. Don’t assume that because they are slowing down, limping, or struggling on the stairs that they are just getting older. Get your pet a physical. Let a qualified....