Rhiann sat on a maroon wing-backed chair inside Riverside Veterinary Clinic. Beside her lay Rae, the elderly beagle. In front of her, Colter’s silver-haired veterinarian, Dr. Henry Black, leaned back in a leather chair behind his walnut desk.
“I’m sorry about Rae, but with her age, diabetes, and the glaucoma’s progression, there isn’t much we can do at this stage,” he said, as he steepled his fingers.
Rhiann nodded. “I thought as much. I wish my grandmother’s friend had contacted me sooner. With her own eyesight dwindling, though, she most likely didn’t know how bad Rae’s condition had gotten.”
“That was very kind of you to take her dog.”
Rhiann smiled. “Grams wouldn’t have it any other way. Eleanor was a friend, and we felt it was the right thing to do when she had to move in with her daughter.” Rhiann stood and extended her hand. “Thank you, Dr. Black. I appreciate the opportunity to work with you, both personally and professionally.”
The veterinarian stood and shook her hand. “I look forward to our association, too. I’m sure we’ll be sending clients to one another.”
Rhiann looked at the napping beagle. “Come on, Rae. Time to pick up Jax from the groomer.”
As he walked her to the door, Dr. Black said, “I admire you for planning to establish a rescue here. With our ruralness, I often get in strays and sometimes even pets that owners cannot care for anymore. It will be nice to work with you to ensure these animals find new, loving homes.”
- Excerpt from Rescue Road - A Clean, Contemporary Romance
In my recently-released novel, Rescue Road, my primary female character, Rhiann, rescues dogs. Rae, the elderly beagle mentioned in the above book excerpt, has diabetes and glaucoma, two conditions that not only can go hand-in-hand, but are conditions that often affect aging pets. Arthritis and kidney disease are also common in elderly dogs and cats. As humans age, we also tend toward greater illnesses and afflictions. Yet, for some reason, many people dispose of their senior pets. Perhaps, as in my story, an elderly person goes to live where animals aren’t welcome or that elderly person passes away and no one in the family wants the pet that’s left behind. Whatever the reason, according to an article in Dogtime, "old dogs and cats have higher euthanasia rates or even live out their lives in a shelter kennel.”
Even though older pets aren’t adopted as quickly as younger animals, there are several good reasons to do so. Below are five:
1. Older animals are likely already housebroken and senior dogs more likely to know basic obedience than younger canines.
2. Senior pets make great companions for senior and less active people. They are content to enjoy a leisurely walk around the neighborhood or yard (yes, even some cats are leash
3. They often make great therapy animals, both for the adopter and for certification, going into senior living residences, libraries, schools, and hospitals (yes, old pets can learn new tricks!)
4. Senior animals still have lots of love to give and are devoted to the person caring for them.
5. What you see is what you get. You already know the animal’s size and temperament when you adopt a senior dog or cat.
Find additional reasons to adopt an elderly dog or cat here:
November is Adopt-a-Senior-Pet Month. My household currently
consists oftwo eight-year-old dogs (older, but not yet quite
senior) and two 14-year-old cats. We adopted Jeremiah, our Shih Tzu
, two years ago and Sadie, our springer spaniel, we adopted less than two months ago. The cats, however, have been with us nearly all their lives; we adopted them at 10 weeks of age just over 14 years ago (they were born in August 2005 and we adopted them in October of that year). We love and adore each pet. They bring us companionship, laughter, and love and they help us exercise, socialize, and relax. I relish cuddle times with them, reading a book, watching TV, or simply
lying in bed. They give their devotion and are always happy to be near. There’s nothing like
coming home after work or errands and having the dogs greet me at the door with happy dances and tail wags and the cats meeting me in the bedroom as I change clothes purring and wanting attention.
Scientists, including medical officials at the Centers for Disease Control, say having a pet makes a person healthier, mentally and physically. If you’re considering adopting a pet, don’t overlook the older and senior animals. They will fill you with joy and give you undivided loyalty. We can all use more of that in our lives. My character, Rhiann, would agree.
Rescue Road is a clean, contemporary romance set in the beautiful state of Montana and is now available, in time for Adopt-a-Senior Pet Month. The book can be purchased
on Kindle, Nook, and Kobo as an e
-book and in print from Amazon. Visit my website to learn more about the book: http://www.gaylemirwin.com/novels.html
Rescue Road purchase links:
Amazon Print: https://amzn.to/2W7fpBe
Amazon Kindle: https://amzn.to/2W7fpBe
Barnes & Noble Nook: http://bit.ly/2BAvqWZ
If you buy the book, you’re eligible for two additional resources: A recipe e
-book of autumn dishes and the first chapter of Book 2 in the Pet Rescue Romance series I’m writing - both FREE to you when you purchase Rescue Road. Simply email
me a copy of your purchase receipt and I will email these freebies to you. My email address is email@example.com. In the subject line, please put Rescue Road Giveaways. I hope you enjoy the story and I look forward to hearing from you! Feel free to share
this information with other readers and pet lovers you know!
The man at the dog park told my husband he was traveling the country with his furry friend, an Australian shepherd mix. He also said the pair were visiting as many dog parks as they could, and that this stop, in our community in Wyoming, was just one of many. The man went on to say he’d been in a car accident a few years previous, and that his dog became a reason for him to get up, do his therapy, and improve his health. He said his dog “saved my life.”
Dogs do that. There are the K9s in the military and on police forces; there are the service dogs for blind and wheelchair-bound people; therapy animals that visit hospitals and nursing homes; and search and rescue dogs who find the lost (read a recent story from Ohio about such a canine who found a missing young child).
Next week, American Humane’s Hero Dog Awards will be shown on Hallmark Channel. This program, in its seventh year, showcases the many wonderful dogs on duty, and this year, the categories include Shelter Dogs. This is wonderfully appropriate since October is National Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog Month. Car company Subaru recently announced its first Make a Dog’s Day, being celebrated on Tuesday, October 22. This month is certainly “going to the dogs,” and that’s just fine!
The ASPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) estimates more than 3.3 million dogs enter America’s animal shelters every year. Some come in as strays and may be reunited with their owners; others are turned in by their people for various reasons. About half (1.6 million) are adopted and nearly 700,000 dogs are euthanized. October offers shelters, rescues, and others the opportunity to showcase the many wonderful dogs in need of homes through promotion of adoption.
My husband and I recently adopted a rescue dog named Sadie from English Springer Spaniel Rescue of America. She may not be a service dog, military K9, or therapy dog, but she has rescued us. We lost our other springer, Mary, to cancer in April. That loss, like most pet losses, left a hole in our hearts, and left our Shih Tzu, Jeremiah, without a canine friend. Sadie is filling both voids. She and Jeremiah haven’t drawn as close and he and our other springer, but when Greg and I are away from the house, she at least provides companionship for him. Sadie has bonded strongly with my husband. She stays with him in his home office, goes for walks in the dog park and around the neighborhood, and spending time on the couch watching TV as well as outdoors in our back yard. That hole left by the passing of our other springer is slowly healing, thanks to a hyper springer spaniel named Sadie.
I’ve heard others say the same. After the passing of one pet, the adoption of another helps the healing from the loss. Dogs (and cats) help us in other ways, too. They fill a gap, for loneliness, for service, for recovery, for friendship. We rescue dogs, and they rescue us in many, varied and special ways.
So, this month, consider adopting a dog in need. And, if you can’t adopt, do something else to help, like volunteer, donate supplies or money, attend events. And always remember to be the best responsible pet parent as possible! We rescue dogs and they rescue us.
NOTE: My forthcoming novel, Rescue Road, is about second chances, both for the humans and the animals in the story. Releasing next month in honor of both October’s National Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog Month and November’s National Adopt-a-Senior-Pet Month, the book highlights the importance of pet rescue and adoption and provides resources to do just that at the back of the book. Rescue Road will be available in both print and e-book format and is scheduled for release on November 9, 2019. Learn more about the novel and watch a short book trailer here: http://www.gaylemirwin.com/novels.html
Last week I wrote about timing and adoption. Well, for my husband and I, the timing was just right. Our family unit changed last weekend – we adopted another dog! Our springer/cocker mix Mary died of cancer in April, leaving our shih tzu Jeremiah without a canine companion - and my husband without one as well.
Mary was primarily Greg’s dog, although she greeted everyone with a wag of her stubby tail. He missed his furry friend and about a month ago, we began looking. Greg’s one stipulation: we had to adopt another springer spaniel, or springer mix. Last week, we learned of one in our region that needed a home. We filed the adoption application, spoke to the foster “dad,” and made an appointment to visit on Sunday afternoon. Sadie, an 8-year-old springer spaniel, spent Sunday night in our home, thanks to English Springer Spaniel Rescue of America.
Adopting a new pet is an exciting adventure! A new life, a new friend, a new routine, all wrapped into a bundle of joy, love, and loyalty ... and in our case, energy! Sadie may be considered “middle-age” in years, but her energy level is that of a teen-pup. We’ve nicknamed her “Rocket Dog!” First thing each morning, she jettisons from her sleeping kennel, runs through the house to the back door, and launches herself into the backyard. She runs, and runs, and runs. The spaniel smile she displays captures a person’s heart. The joy she exhibits for life inspires … and wears a person out!
We knew to expect this behavior. She lived in her foster home for nearly a month; therefore, the family experienced her energetic, OCD-like, behavior. She receives medication daily to help calm her through the day, and she responds well to the drug. Greg also takes her on two to three walks daily, and she is learning to slow her stride better each day. Fortunately, we own recreational property not far from our house, and this weekend, we plan to take Sadie there for the first time. There’s an enclosed area there that Greg built last year for Mary that will become our new dog’s “off-leash” area, and we know she will enjoy that special space, even more probably than she does our fenced backyard.
Sadie and Jeremiah get along fine … except when the bigger dog doesn’t watch for the smaller one and steps on him. However, Jeremiah stands his ground and lets out a growl to help her understand she needs to keep a better watch where she’s going! I hope they become good friends, for Jeremiah and Mary relished a special bond, and I know he misses that connection. He and Sadie may never have the same relationship as he did with Mary, but Greg and I would love to see them lay next to each other on the couch or dog bed in the near future.
Adopting a new pet is not only exciting, but it can also be challenging. Integrating an animal into the household, especially a home with already-established pets, changes dynamics. Sometimes the pets already in the house don’t readily accept a new addition, and sometimes that acceptance just takes a while. A new pet can come with physical or emotional issues, as Sadie has, but that doesn’t make the animal “less than,” any more than such challenges makes a human child “less than.” Patience, perseverance, and understanding are critical in these situations, and being willing to go the extra mile for that animal in need is vital.
Greg and I are committed to helping Sadie feel secure and loved. What we will receive through the journey is priceless – the trust and loyalty of a beautiful creature. She’s already given us kisses, and a week hasn’t even gone by yet.
Rescued pets give us what many people do not: unconditional love and devotion. A person’s life is enriched by those things that money can’t buy. We’re blessed to share our home and our lives with Sadie, and the many other animals who have graced us with their presence over the years.
What animals have you adopted over the years? How have they enriched your life? Feel free to leave a comment.
Schools are dismissing, temperatures are rising, and the sun is shining, combining to chorus that summer is here! If you’re looking for a companion to share the longer days, warm nights, and great adventures that come with this season, look no further than your local animal shelter or rescue.
Adopting a four-legged friend can add fun to your summer! Hiking, camping, basking in the warm of your patio or deck, relaxing with an engaging book, beach combing, traveling to a state or national park or seashore, visiting family and friends – all of these adventures can be even more enjoyable with a dog or cat at your side (or on your lap!). The soft purrings from a feline friend; the excited woofs from a new canine companion, the joys of running, playing fetch, wading in water, or simply relishing the quiet of your own back yard, all with a new-found buddy, adds flavor of contentment and joy to summer season.
June is National Adopt-a-Shelter-Cat Month. Cat or dog, rabbit, hamster, horse, whatever animal delights you and adds joy, love, and friendship to your life, take to the internet and find that perfect companion for yourself and/or your family. Millions of dogs and cats are housed in animal shelters every year in America, and thousands more are cared for by volunteer foster families helping animal rescue groups. Horses, birds, rabbits, and other creatures also go into rescue; therefore, a person has a plethora of animals from which to choose.
Before adopting any animal, however, keep these tips in mind:
For resources and further information about adopting a pet, visit these websites:
Even if adoption of a pet is not an option for you at this time, there are many ways you can help homeless animals – find a valuable resource with a list of ideas here:
Enjoy your summer with your furry friend or by helping animals in need at your local rescue or shelter!
I vividly remember the first day I saw him – tawny brown eyes staring at me through the kennel fence. He’d been brought in by someone who thought she’d rescue him from a backyard breeder, but her two already-adopted dogs wouldn’t accept a still-intact male. So, the woman brought the 10-year-old cocker spaniel into the local animal shelter, hoping he’d find a new home quickly. However, the shelter manager told me, despite his pedigree as a purebred cocker spaniel, his age might keep him from being adopted very quickly. It didn’t. Cody came home with me three days later, after a neutering, bath, and groom. We traveled together, shared time on the couch together, and enjoyed walks and dog park adventures together. He lived more than seven more years after I adopted him; Cody was nearly 18 years old before he passed away in my home. He was a wonderful companion for me and for the blind dog also living in my home at that time.
Some animal welfare groups estimate nearly 25 percent of dogs that enter animal shelters and humane societies are purebred. Several groups also estimate that only 2 percent of stray cats brought in to such facilities are reclaimed by their owners. I’ve adopted both dogs and cats from animal shelters and pet rescue organizations since I became an adult. Adoption saves lives and provides individuals and families with a wonderful furry friend. Adoption is kindness in action.
This week is known as Be Kind to Animals Week, a time set aside by animal welfare organizations to remind us all that just as people need kindness in their lives, so do animals. Every year, nearly 1.5 million dogs and cats die in shelters across the United States because not enough people adopt; that number translates to nearly 2,000 EVERY SINGLE DAY. Kindness + compassion = adoption.
Pets and People Help Each Other
Pets not only bring joy to the lives of their human caregivers, but they also benefit people in many other ways: they help reduce blood pressure and weight, they help keep our cholesterol low, and they provide us with love and devotion like no other. Pets help us be more social – ever gone to a dog park where no one talks to each other? We laugh more, we exercise more, and we dote on our “fur-kids” with toys, treats, and costumes, bringing more smiles to our faces when they pose for us, lick our faces, and beg for belly rubs. In short, animals our good for our minds, bodies, and spirits. How can we NOT be kind to them?
Yet, every day, dogs and cats (as well as rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs, horses, and others) await loving, kind people to give them a forever home. Could that person be you?
Kindness = Adoption
It’s been about a month since our 13-year-old springer/cocker mix, Mary, passed; my husband and I are considering adopting another dog not only as an extra companion for us, but also for our beloved Shih Tzu, Jeremiah. Pets grieve the passing of other household members, and I’m sure Jeremiah would enjoy once again having a four-footed companion as much as we would. This week is an ideal time to get more serious about adopting another pet.
I hope you’ll also take time this week to consider adding a new pet to your household. By being kind to a pet in need you could be saving not just one life, but two: the animal you adopt and the one waiting to take its place at the shelter or rescue. You can find your next furry friend at your local animal shelter, humane society, or pet rescue organization, through Best Friends Animal Society or the ASPCA, through a breed rescue group, or at Petfinder.com, ShelterPetProject.org, and AdoptaPet.com.
Resources for Adopters
There are many wonderful resources for people who adopt animals. Below you’ll find three, two for being better prepared to add that four-footed companion to your household, and the other listing several great reasons to adopt a pet:
There’s a funny song “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas” – did you get one of those? Sometimes families or individuals bring home a new pet as a Christmas gift, maybe not a hippo but a dog, cat, or guinea pig. Is that you this year? No matter what time of year you bring a new pet into your household, your life is going to be different – just as it is when a new human baby arrives. Here are a few tips to help you, your family, and your new pet friend adjust to the “new normal:”
These are just five tips to consider before and after you bring home a new pet. There are many other ideas offered by the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) and Petfinder, two sites which provide pet adoption opportunities and pet care tips:
Pets bring people deep joy through their antics and their devotion. Studies show pets benefit people emotionally and physically, helping with depression, cholesterol, and blood pressure, among other things. A pet is a special gift, and it’s a gift for life. Take care of your new pet and it will take care of you!
One of the most well-known national animal sanctuaries, Best Friends Animal Society, located in southeastern Utah, is about a 13-hour drive from where I live in Wyoming. I have visited twice and volunteered once. What an amazing place!
For many years, Best Friends has been on the frontlines of the “No-Kill” movement, a vision of seeing that no healthy, adoptable animal is euthanized in America’s shelters. Recently, the non-profit organization turned up the volume, and the heat, to make no-kill a reality by 2025. Staff and volunteers believe that achievement is possible.
The main Best Friends sanctuary is located outside of the small town of Kanab, Utah, which itself is located within 20 miles of the Arizona border is southeastern Utah. The beautiful red sandstone rocks of that area, which includes Zion and Bryce Canyon national parks, offers a dazzling, inspiring backdrop to the 200+ acre sanctuary. This special place provides a temporary (and sometimes permanent) home for dogs, cats, rabbits, birds, horses, and other animals. This group took in more than 20 of the Michael Vick dogs, several of which were later re-homed with loving families. Best Friends has done so much good around the country, including opening new adoption centers in places like Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, and New York. Soon, a new Best Friends center will open in Houston. They partner with other animal welfare groups across the country, such as Austin Pets Alive! And most recently, a small Texas town that receives thousands of animals each year. Texas leads the nation in number of shelter animals killed each year, and Best Friends – among other groups – wants to make a positive impact for pets in that state.
The ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) estimates the number of dogs and cats that enter animal shelters in the United States to be around 6.5 million; 1.5 million of those, including healthy, adoptable animals, are killed. That doesn’t have to happen. If adoption rates would rise above the current 50 percent, more positive outcomes for more animals would result.
Can no-kill hapen in America during the next seven years? Best Friends envisions such a possibility. With organizations like Best Friends Animal Society and adoption supporters throughout the nation like you and me, it can be done. Let’s all do our part to educate people about the joy of pet adoption and raise the mantra of #AdoptDon’tShop in our own communities as well as via social media. There are two weeks left of October’s Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog Month, and November brings Adopt-a-Senior-Pet Month. Think about one thing you can do to make a positive impact on shelter animals these next several weeks, and let’s help Best Friends attain the goal of #NoKill2025 – for the sake – and the lives – of these animals.
With the recent Kitten Bowl, Westminster Dog Show, and American Rescue Dog Show now complete, many people may be thinking about bringing home a dog, cat, kitten, or puppy. Pets touch our hearts and warm our homes – they provide companionship, comfort, and comedy to our lives.
There is little else that lifts one’s spirits than to come home from a tough day at work or school and be happily greeted by a four-footed friend. If you’re thinking of adding a pet to your home, here are six tips to help insure you and your new dog or cat will spend many happy years together:
Having a pet makes a home more cozy, warm, and loving. Pets are devoted to their humans – they love us unconditionally – and like children, they depend on us for care. Therefore, make sure you’re ready and that you’re willing to be faithful to your new furry friend, which can live 10 to 20 years.
#GivingTuesday occurs this week, and on this day those of us who advocate for animals can make a big difference for those creatures.
#GivingTuesday allows us to partner with and thank non-profits around the world with a monetary donation. Around this time every year we are bombarded with spending money, from Black Friday deals to Cyber Monday savings. Many of us get wrapped up like a box at Christmas in the buy, buy, buy, and spend, spend, spend – and yes, #GivingTuesday is no exception. However, the big difference between Black Friday/Cyber Monday and #GivingTuesday is that our dollars can do a lot of good on this special day – helping charities continue their good works.
Whether your passions lie with pets or people, or both, you can make a difference on #GivingTuesday; contributing to causes that help others is a very positive endeavor, and oftentimes your donations can and will be matched through grants and other donors.
On this #GivingTuesday, if you’re an animal advocate like me, let’s pool our resources and help pets in need. Donate locally first if you believe in a pet rescue or animal shelter near you; oftentimes, the local organizations receive little to no national funding; our local groups need us, their community, to step up. But, if you want to split your donation between a local and a national group, as I often do, here are a few national animal rescue organizations you might consider supporting:
There are many wonderful organizations, including breed rescues, like English Springer Spaniel Rescue of America, Big Dogs Huge Paws (specializing in breeds such as Mastiffs and Great Danes), and Mid-America Boston Terrier Rescue (I have transported dogs for all three of these groups). If you like a specific breed of dog and want to assist a national rescue group for that breed, visit this American Kennel Club website: http://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/rescue-network/contacts/.
Another group I like to support is located in Wyoming, but its reach extends beyond state borders. Black Dog Animal Rescue, in Cheyenne, has been around for nearly 10 years, helping shelter dogs scheduled to be euthanized in shelters find new, loving adoptive homes. One of their successful programs pairs prisoners with pups; the inmates work with the dogs regarding obedience and agility training.
My plan for #GivingTuesday is to donate locally, regionally, and nationally, and though I may not have a lot of money, my contribution paired with others can, and does, make a difference.
How about you? Want to help animals in need? I hope you’ll do so on this #GivingTuesday. Animals need people and rescues and shelters need individuals and groups to help them help the animals. Show your compassion and concern today – donate and make a difference!
As mentioned in last week’s blog, October is National Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog Month. Whether you adopt a dog this month or sometime in the future, knowing how best to introduce a new friend to your household if you already have pets is a helpful process for everyone involved.
Here are a few tips for introducing a newly-adopted dog to other pets:
Implementing these ideas can help make your next dog adoption story a much more happily ever after! For additional tips on this topic visit the following websites: