Adopting senior dogs. How it all started...
This journey of adopting seniors started on a car ride on December 31st, 2017. My partner, Terry, and I were taking a drive somewhere (can’t remember where) and I was thinking about my Cocker Spaniel I had years ago named Apple (she was the fur love of my life). I had adopted her on New Years Eve a number of years ago and I was missing her. We pulled into a gas station and I pointed out to Terry a large sign up ahead that said ‘Dog Adoption Center.’ In that same moment an SUV pulled into the spot in front of us and just 8 feet away we read the words ‘smalldogadoption.com’ in letters on the car’s rear window.
We looked at each other and agreed it was a sign. Changed plans and headed to the local shelter. At the front desk I asked if they had any senior dogs available. The woman behind the desk said, “Yes, just one, his name is Francis.” (which is my partner’s nickname). An hour later, after meeting Francis, the three of us were back in the car and headed home.
The Story Continues...
Francis was not well from the beginning. I suspected there was more to his medical situation right away when the shelter staff gave my partner and I beds and leashes and coats and toys, thankful and excited we were adopting him. He was just skin and bones. He was timid, scared and jumpy. We gave him lots of blankets and beds around the house to choose from, a little bacon, and light pets when he was comfortable.
At his first vet visit, after all the ladies stopped swooning over him, I asked how old the vet thought he was. She smiled and said "very old". With no teeth, a heart murmur, extreme arthritis and bladder cancer, we knew it was just a matter of time before he passed. Our job was to love him as much as possible while he was here. And that's exactly what we did.
It took Francis a few months to warm up to us, understandably so. We learned when adopting him he had spent a portion of his life with a homeless woman and then was given to the homeless woman's parents who severely neglected him.
Once he did open we started to see the coolest personality come out. He was a tough guy. He earned the name Hardcore Parkour because he would never take the easy route, walked precariously on the edges of all furniture and climbed on anything he could in the house.
When he went for walks he chose the rocky areas over flat sidewalks. If there was a hole in the ground, no matter what size, he had to step into it. He started to snuggle with us more and by the last two months we developed a morning routine. Each morning I would open the bedroom door to the living room and he would be waiting for me. I would pick him up, sit on the couch and he would rest on my chest for thirty minutes or more (I wish I would have captured this memory with a photo). He would rest so peacefully, like all the cares in the world washed away.
The last month of his life was filled with kisses and bouncy fits of joy. In just six short months he went from depressed to blissful. And it didn't take much. Just a little love.
I sobbed the day Francis died. I was stunned how deeply he wove into my heart in just six short months. It's taken me months to write this and I'm still tearing up thinking of him. The gifts he gave both myself and Terry are priceless. The gratitude I have that he came into our lives is deep.
Thank you Francis. You will always be remembered and loved.
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Rest in peace Francis (aka Hardcore Parkour) June 2018
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