Hospice dog adoption is a trend that is sweeping the nation. Learn more about one hospice dog lover, the “Adoption Angel of Pasadena,” and the other people who also lovingly provide for elderly dogs by reading below.
Elderly dogs need love and affection just like puppies. However, when put into a shelter system, it’s all too often that adopters look to puppies first, overlooking the elderly dogs who are just as eligible for adoption. And if a senior dog has any known diseases, the odds of getting adopted drop even further. It takes a special kind of person to take in and adopt a shelter dog who is elderly.
Meet “The Adoption Angel of Pasadena.”
One incredible dog lover – who we’re calling “The Adoption Angel of Pasadena” because this person chose to remain anonymous – is growing the gentlest of reputations in the suburban town of Pasadena, California. This person adopts elderly dogs near their death and makes their last days as comfortable as possible. Then the Adoption Angel of Pasadena repeats this incredibly moving and giving cycle, adopting a different elderly dog again in order to knowingly cushion final days for another warm-hearted, loving pooch. That this person chooses to remain nameless is a perfect dovetail of why people do this strange, seemingly heartbreaking practice: to give love to those who need it, expecting nothing in return.
It’s inspiring. The Adoption Angel of Pasadena’s existence and warm heart – going through all the red tape of adoption over and over again for these elderly dogs, knowing full well that they are not going to live long at all, is thoughtful, warm, and inspires all those around this person to give more charitably and to take care of their pets at home.
Incredibly enough, this Angel is not alone.
Senior Dog Haven and Hospice, a shelter in Wilmington, DE that specializes in hospice care dogs, states their mission simply: “Our goal is to be there for the older dogs who have been abandoned at a time in their life when their need for comfort, companionship and care is at it’s highest.” They look after dogs age 7 and older.
Wondering what exactly is covered when one fosters a hospice dog? Thanks to groups like Senior Dog Haven and PAWS Chicago, a lot of the heavy lifting is shouldered by the shelters themselves. PAWS Chicago stated on its website: “Our veterinarians provide fosters with guidance on how to make the animals comfortable, at no cost to the foster. That includes:
palliative medical care, food, any necessary medications, training to administer fluids and medications as needed.”
And the big decision, when to let the dog pass, isn’t squarely on the shoulders of the dog’s foster parents, either – though they may voice an opinion. Per PAWS: “We work with our fosters to monitor each animal’s quality of life to determine when the most compassionate decision is humane euthanasia.”
What is a “typical” dog like in this situation? Well, they vary. One dog in hospice in California’s Peace Of Mind Dog Rescue, Lucky, is described simply, as an elderly dog who through a case of misfortune had an owner who couldn’t take care of her anymore:
“Lucky is a 40 pound 13-year-old Australian Shepherd mix. She is an easy going gal who enjoys several short walks a day and napping. She is reliably housetrained and will let you know politely when she needs to go out. Lucky is fine with other dogs and has lived with children. She has some typical age-related hearing loss. Lucky originally came to POMDR in 2013 when her family moved and could not take her along. She was adopted by an active senior citizen, and they had two wonderful years together. Unfortunately her guardian took a bad fall and it became apparent that it isn’t safe for either of them to be doing the stairs in the home.”
Another, Sadie, is elderly but needs more care: “Sadie is an 11 year old, 55 pound smooth coated Collie. She came to us from a Los Angeles shelter where she was on the euthanasia list. After rescuing Sadie, we found out she had a lesion that turned out to be an aggressive cancer. We had it surgically removed, but within three months it came back. We were told she may need to be put down if the cancer continued to grow. She is currently under the care of an oncologist and will stay with her foster mom until she goes into remission and can be adopted out or until she passes away. For now, she is a loved member of her foster family and is getting the best care possible.”
No matter what the dog’s situation, it’s good to know that groups – and people like the Adoption Angel of Pasadena! – know that these dogs deserve to be happy and then go out of their way to give them love just when they need it most.
Thanks to all these giving folks!