Tri-Cities Voice Newspaper - What's Happening - Fremont, Union City, Newark California

September 24, 2004 > A Second Chance for Love

A Second Chance for Love

by Nancy Lyon

Why on earth would anyone want to adopt a senior animal? After all, aren't they like used cars? Besides, who wants someone else's problems? If the animal were so wonderful, why would anyone give him away? Or if he was a stray, why wasn't someone looking for him?

These are questions that are often raised and the answers are many -- loss of a beloved guardian through illness or death, divorce, losing a home, a "guardian" who did not want to care for an ageing "pet." There are many reasons, many unthinkable to those of us who love and respect our animal companions. Unfortunately, these reasons impact senior animals at a time in their lives when they need the love and companionship of their family the most. The end result is that too often they end up bewildered in an animal shelter.

Many times there is reluctance to adopt a senior companion animal because of the fear that your time with your new best friend will be shorter than with younger animals, bringing that painful time of loss closer. But the privilege of loving a senior animal makes every single day special, as you and your companion share love, friendship, and a special relationship that grows stronger with the knowledge that you have given this fine old friend a second chance at life and love. It has been said that the love that grows from this knowledge is stronger than the pain of eventual separation.

OHS has made it a practice to take from the Tri-City Animal Shelter many of the older animals that might not be otherwise adopted or rescued. Just recently, thanks to the generous support of a very caring person named Deborah, two senior dogs, Asia Tucker and Cecil Martin, were able to leave the animal shelter to become foster dogs in our Homeward Bound companion animal rescue program.

Deborah had recently adopted a dog rescued by OHS from the shelter named Reggie Rex. When she heard about Asia and Cecil, and the medical care that they would need before being placed up for adoption, she generously offered to pay the veterinary costs provided they would be rescued and re-homed.

Asia, an adorable 5.5 pound, 10-year-new Chihuahua/Pomeranian looked like a small, smiling, fuzzy red ball with a greying muzzle. Whatever her story, her big heart was ready to love again. Like many seniors she required a senior blood panel, neutering, dental care and grooming to make her ready for her new forever home.

Cecil Martin, a charming and somewhat shy terrier mix of 12-years, needed a senior blood panel, neutering, eye repair, a serious haircut, and most of his teeth removed. He could live comfortably without his missing teeth but to leave them would cause health problems. It was also discovered that Cecil had a heart murmur, which is not uncommon.

Following veterinary work and adequate time in foster care to evaluate their behavior and personalities, these sweet little guys were ready for the challenge of a new life. Not too long afterward, Asia found a loving home with a terrific and devoted guardian. And it is hoped that it won't be long before a new lucky family discovers Cecil Martin!

These great dogs are just an example of the senior animals waiting for their special people. So, why bring an older animal into your life? For one, they have learned many of life's lessons. Senior dogs, for example, know that shoes are for walking and bones are for chewing. They enjoy a little exercise, but the best part of the day is the nap. They love for you to join them. Senior animals will often fit into your household with surprising ease. They find the softest, warmest spot in the house and claim it for their own, but they will share it with you, too.

Seniors have a tremendous amount of love to give. When you rescue one, you have a best friend for life. They can make excellent companions for just about everyone, especially senior people. You are rewarded with unwavering devotion and nothing matches their love and appreciation for their rescuer.

Sadly, older dogs and cats are often the first to be killed in animal shelters. Passed over for cute and cuddly puppies and kittens, they often do not have a chance and must go to make space for more youngsters. Please think about adopting a senior shelter animal -- it saves a beautiful life.

If you are interested in adopting Cecil Martin, please contact the OHS Advice Line, 510.792.4587 or our

"Old dogs, like old shoes, are comfortable.
They might be a bit out of shape
and a little worn around the edges, but they fit well."
-- Bonnie Wilcox 'Old Dogs, Old Friends'

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