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Adopting an Older Dog

There is something very special about older dogs.

They seem to live in a state of perfect love and joy, oblivious to the gray hairs on their muzzle and the cloudiness in their eyes. They are in the game until the very end…at least, some of them are.

Not all older dogs are fortunate enough to be in a loving home, safe and cared for. Many of them sit in animal shelters, waiting for their forever families to find them.

One such dog is Jackson, who spends his time at the TLC Canine Center in Newell, Iowa. Jackson is a wonderful old boy….totally deaf…only a few teeth left…but he has made a heart connection with Pauline Larsen, the center’s director. Pauline writes a newspaper column called Paw Prints. She captured the heartbreak so many older critters experience in the following poem, which appeared in her column “One by One They Passed Him By.”

One by one, they pass me by. “Too old” “Too worn” “Too broken” they sigh.
“Way past his time, we want a puppy who will run and play”
They shake their heads slowly and go on their way.
A little old man, arthritic and sore; it seems I’m not wanted anymore.
I once had a home; I once had a bed, a place that was warm and where I was fed.
Now my muzzle is grey, and my eyes slowly fail. Who wants a dog so old and so frail?
My family decided I didn’t belong; they wanted a pup, was that so wrong?
Whatever excuse they made in their head can’t justify how they left me for dead.
Now I sit here day after day, while the young ones get adopted away.
TLC loves me, gives me food and a bed, and a pillow for my poor tired head.
We snuggle and play and they say, someone will come and take me away.
I would promise to return all the love I can give, to someone, as long as I live.
Please don’t pass me by.

Pauline Larsen
TLC Canine Center
Newell, Iowa

If you are looking to invite a new dog into your life, be sure to visit your local animal shelter. If you see an older pup who captures your heart, I hope you’ll think about bringing that critter home!


One Comment

Jean M Fogle
posted on November 13, 2007 Reply

A nice reminder to consider the older pets that are left like broken toys.

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