Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Christo-fur (1996 - 2013) Why you should consider adopting a senior dog

CHRISTO-FUR
(1996 - 2013)


Last night (October 14th, 2013) Chrissy-fur left me. His little heart grew too big and it was time to let him rest. I have always made it a point to keep blogging and Facebook fun and light and not post sad stories or share photos of animals in desperate need (those of us who care, already know their plight and those who don’t care, will not change their mind over a sad photo – social networks should be fun, not depressing). So in honor of  Chrissy-fur, I want to tell his story and hopefully inspire someone to consider adopting an older, senior dog.




6 years ago, I lost my fur-soul mate, Duncan, suddenly, to cancer. I was in the middle of relocating and had no plan to bring another dog into my life right away. A client asked me to temperament test a dog at the city shelter. Reluctantly, I agreed (I hate the pound and can’t go there, but I did). The dog turned out to not be a good fit for my client and her family, but while I was there, I noticed a little male dog with a gash on his head in a run with a group of females. I asked why he was on the girl’s side of the aisle and the volunteer told me he was getting beat up by the big males over food. She also said, That’s Christopher…he’s red tagged to be euthanized on Monday morning.
Ugh. 







Then she insisted he needed a playtime and asked if I would come with her to the yard. I was seriously against interacting with this little old dog; she told me he was 12-years-old and had been back and forth to the shelter SEVEN TIMES throughout his life, both picked up repeatedly from the streets and turned in by past adopters (he was micro chipped so they knew exactly who he was each time). She said he had been in nearly every Los Angeles shelter at least once throughout his then, 12 years of life.






Outside in the play yard, Christopher mostly ignored me. He peed on anything he could lift his leg to and occasionally ran by me, wagging his tail and darting off again, before I could reach for him. His eyes had a slight blue haze from age, but he was a trooper, stomping around and kicking up dirt. When his playtime was over, she asked if I would be interested in taking him home. I told her I had just lost my dog and was relocating my home and business…it wasn’t a good time and no. I watched her put him back in his cage and his demeanor changed again, back to a forlorn, demure sulking. She re-clipped his name card with the big red euthanasia dot back on the cage and I left the shelter. It was Saturday afternoon.

Ugh. 



A rescue cat and temporary foster friend

Monday morning, I woke much earlier than usual. It was 6:30am in a new, empty house and I couldn’t stop thinking about that little dog who would be taking his last breath in just 90 minutes or so. Having worked in rescue and rehab for years, I had the back line phone number for the shelter. Everything in me said DON’T DO IT!  This isn’t the time to take on a new dog. Regardless, I picked up the phone and called that back line. 





You have a dog named Christopher scheduled for euthanasia this morning. STOP!  I’ll be there by 8 to take him. The man on the phone was so happy and I remember thinking it strange that a shelter employee who dealt with euthanasia on a daily basis would be so happy for this little old dog, far past his prime, who had lived his life in and out of shelters, endlessly. 
Having just moved, I was pretty far away from the shelter, so the ride gave plenty of time for me to tell myself I was an idiot and going to be sorry, but I forged ahead and arrived just as the doors were opened. They had bathed Christopher and had him ready and waiting for me.


Oh please let that peanut butter drip!


On the car ride home, completely ill prepared, Christopher, now Christo-fur, or Chrissy-fur (whichever you prefer) rode loose in the car. I chose to take Sepulveda Blvd back over the hill and for those who don’t know, there is a great length of the boulevard that snakes down a steep mountain, curving and spiraling dangerously. Christo-fur decided this was fun and bounced around the car like a ricocheting bullet eventually landing between my back and the seat with me navigating the curves and pinned by my seat belt  I thought we would never make it home and wondered if this dog was really as old as they claimed!




At home, there was no instant gratification. Christo-fur didn’t love me immediately and he ignored every command I gave him. He chased the cat, chased the squirrels, refused to come when called and wouldn’t eat dog food to save his life, but over the next few months he began to feel permanence and security and somehow he came to understand he would never see a shelter again…he had finally found his forever home where someone cared that the gates were latched and doors closed tight, and gaps in the fences, sealed.




Christopher never barked. He never chewed furniture or shoes, or pens. He was never sick; never cost me a dime in veterinary care. He raised more than a dozen foster children, some toddlers, annoying and rough, yet he never once showed his teeth, snapped, or growled. He gave me 6 years and said thank you every single day in countless ways. He was the poster child and proof that adopting a senior dog is the most selfless and gratifying thing you can do. He didn’t know tricks and never fetched a ball, but he was the easiest, most loyal little guy to ever share my home and life.




So, in honor of Christo-fur, please consider adopting a senior dog from your local shelter. Everyone wants puppies and these older dogs, with their cloudy eyes and missing teeth, have such a small chance of living out their lives at the foot of someone’s bed or ever knowing love and security again. Most senior dogs enter a shelter and never come out alive. Most are quiet and already trained. They sleep most of the day and don’t need long runs or intense play. They say thank you in the simplicity of their upkeep and often have several years left to give. Yes, you get attached and they die. But it’s no easier when you’ve had a dog for 12 or 15 years than it is with a few less, SELFLESS years. Also, when you adopt a senior dog and their time comes to say goodbye, knowing that you gave them the gift of a natural lifespan is the most gratifying sadness you will ever experience. There is an inner peace in letting them go that you do not experience with a dog you’ve raised from puppy-hood. 




Thank you Christo-fur for never trying to take Duncan’s place, but for filling a bit of the void I felt without him. Thank you for being so damn easy and funny and even a little naughty from time to time. Thank you for making the end easy, clear and quick, and thank you for allowing me to know that I made a difference and gave you the permanence no one else was willing to give you.




Please consider adopting a senior dog. If you cannot, please make a donation in Christo-fur’s name to (donation button at bottom of link page): 

Find them on Facebook HERE---> https://www.facebook.com/Sr.Dogs



Christo-fur Dominic Vincenzo Hudson
1996 - 2013
You were finally VERY wanted and loved.
You brought so much joy to my life
and will NEVER be forgotten!

And PLEASE SHARE this post. 
Many have no clue what joy these senior pets bring.
Please share Chrissy-fur's story and inspire others to adopt in his name. 
Help allow his story to make a difference.


21 comments:

  1. What a beautiful tribute to your dear furry companion; bless you for taking him in-sounds like you were blessings to each other!! One of our two dogs and four of our five cats are rescues...they do thank us every day with their unconditional love and affection.

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    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to read his story and for adopting. Please share this post where you can. If he can inspire one person to consider a senior dog or cat, he will have made a difference.

      xx, Brooke

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  2. What a beautiful story, Brooklyn. Older animals are wonderful family members; like people, they acquire depth of character with age. I'm so sorry for your loss, but clearly your life and Christo-fur's were enriched by each other.

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  3. I WILL adopt an older dog next time!!
    Thanks for this.
    XO Chrissy.
    Sharing.

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    1. Thanks Dea, you won't regret it if you do <3

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  4. This is a beautiful tribute to Christo-fur. Hopefully others will read this and adopt an older dog.
    I've adopted a couple of older dogs and they show their appreciation daily, in many ways.
    Thank you for sharing.
    RIP Christo-fur. Hugs to you Brooklyn.
    Debby

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    1. Thank you Debby! It's so true...they say thank you every day <3

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    2. Brooklyn - Elise here...thank you so much for sharing Christo-fur with us, and how your life was enriched because of him. I am very sorry for your loss. I lost my sweet Buddy only seven years old, very suddenly just a month ago, (golden retriever rescue) and my heart is broken. In looking at the golden rescue website, there are a number of senior dogs in need of help and after reading your post, I am loving the idea of helping some of these kids live out their natural lives in a loving home. There is a poem that Buddy's foster mom sent me, author unknown...and I believe is a true last wish for all of our rescued pals:


      "Before humans die, they write their last Will and Testament, give their home and all they have to those they leave behind. If, with my paws, I could do the same, this is what I'd ask:

      To a poor and lonely stray I'd give:

      - My happy home
      - My bowl and cozy bed, soft pillows and all my toys.
      - The lap, which I loved so much.
      - The hand that stroked my fur & the sweet voice which spoke my name.

      I'd Will, to the sad, scared shelter dog, the place that I had in my human's loving heart, of which there seemed no bounds.

      So, when I die, please do not say "I will never have a pet again, for the loss and pain is more than I can stand."

      Instead, go find an unloved dog, one whose life has held no joy or hope and give my place to him.

      This is the only thing I can give...The Love I left behind."

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    3. OMG, that is so beautiful and I believe it is true. Thank you so much for sharing this! I am so sorry for your loss. Regardless whether you share your life with these babies from the moment they leave their mothers or just the last years of their lives...it is NEVER ENOUGH TIME. Those of us who open our hearts and homes to these discarded and/or unfortunate souls, understand this and are acting selflessly. The rewards are endless. Goldens are such wonderful and gentle giants. There's something about an old golden, with those big eyes and that graying face. Please check Petfinder...I know, in my area of Los Angeles, there are several old goldens, RIGHT NOW, in local shelters that are red tagged for euthanasia and just waiting to say thank you to a kind heart.

      xx, B

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    4. What a beautiful poem, Elise. Thank you for sharing it.

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  5. Hi Brooklyn,

    Glad you like the last wishes poem - it is so true. You are right...it is never enough time and so hard, when one like Buddy is gone so suddenly and still in the prime of life. He was a discarded one - left beside a highway and probably from a puppy mill. I can post a link to the memorial page I created for Buds, if you'd like to see it. The best part - we had six awesome years together that I will always treasure. He gave me more than words could ever express...and he is still giving, amazingly. Let's try to get them all into good homes!

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    1. Yes, yes! Please do post the link for us!

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  6. Hi Brooklyn,

    Thanks for the invitation for Buddy's page - here's the link:

    http://www.eternalcompanions.ca/memorials/?action=view&mid=202

    Many of the pictures of him are with my niece Joelee, a born animal lover who just could never get enough of him! I wrote a lot in his long description...some would say too much, but I wanted everyone to know this boy was loved! As I get time, I'll upload more of his pics and videos to FB...I am so lucky to have them to remember him by.

    Thanks again for encouraging us to adopt senior pals into our homes - they all deserve a second chance - what a wonderful legacy you are creating for Chrissy-fur...way to go, gal!

    Hugs,

    Elise

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  7. Elisa, what a beautiful memorial. Buddy was gorgeous! Thank you so much for sharing and for your kind words.

    xx, B

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  8. Hi Brooklyn,

    Thanks for reading Bud's memorial page - yes he is quite gorgeous, if I do say so myself! He gave the best hugs ever...

    xxoo, E

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  9. AWWW, We just had to let our little seniored dog go in September. This story even though I know you must be truly sad made me smile. It always makes my heart feel warm when someone takes animals in. L:)

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    1. Thank you so much, Jennifer. That is exactly what my aim is with this post. I want people to smile and be happy for Chrissy...he had a wonderful 6 years with me and I was very blessed to have him.
      Thank you for stopping by and for commenting. Spread the word!
      xx, B

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  10. I will share, through the tears in my eyes. I'm glad the two of you found each other.

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    1. Thank you, Renae. Please do. I hope our story will bring more seniors to warm beds and loving homes.

      xx, B

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  11. That had me very much crying by the end Brooklyn, I have had dogs my entire life (Bostons mostly) and I've had to let more than I ever wanted to go.Its never easy, its like losing a child I imagine, and also part of you.We have adopted several rescues, our latest blessing is Kayla. Not sure how old she was when she came to be with us, but that was in 2008.She looks to be around 9-10 to me. Anyway, I love Kayla, she's so entertaining and loving. What moved me as well was my timing in coming to your page and reading this. Just got home from work a bit ago, was having one of those moments with her, getting licked to death! And I started thinking about tings, wasting time in life, and not nearly enough enjoying the time I do have wtih her, however long it is. Thanks for sharing your life with Christo-fur with us!

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