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Archive for the ‘senior dogs’ Category

Nearly a dozen years ago, we met Cindy Rackley as part of a big story for Horse & Rider magazine on ‘animal communicators,’ and discovered that Cindy was trained in many alternative healing therapies for both people and pets, such as reiki and homeopathy. For years, she’s also been deeply involved with the Return to Freedom Wild Horse Sanctuary in California.

So, it came as little surprise that her son, Cody Rackley, would be the co-founder–with Jill Anderson–of something as grand as Shadow’s Fund and the Sheltering Oak Sanctuary, a rescue organization devoted to senior dogs and other canines whose sad fate leads them to crowded shelters with a slim chance of adoption.

Shadow’s Fund is named for that smiling senior citizen pictured in this post, who was abandoned by his owners after he’d given them 15 years of devoted service.

No way!” Cooper says. But wait–this has a happy ending, little Coop…

Cody and Jill brought Shadow into their family, and he brought them the mellow companionship and understanding heart that senior dogs just seem to acquire over the years. Here’s a link to their tribute to Shadow–and as our friend Priscilla would say, we double-dog-dare you to watch it without a getting a little ‘sand’ in your eye…

And so Cooper and Swirl would like to thank Cody and Jill for their determination and steadfast devotion to all critters who are down on their luck, thru absolutely no fault of their own. We support you, 100%!

“A wag-of-the-tail to Cody and Jill, and Shadow’s Fund!” says the Coopster.

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The forecast was ‘cold & clear’ –and the morning was both–so we headed to a little bay by John Wayne Marina. Yes, THAT John Wayne donated the land for this pretty little port. Although the tide was out & the sands were perfect for beach combing, with the temperature stuck at freezing, we decided to forego the water & waves, and explore on the grassy path …..

It turned out to be a good choice, because we met other intrepid walkers and made a new friend–a little Pekingese dog!

His name was Perki, and he was 10-years-old. “I’d never guess it,” says the Coopster. “He was quite spirited & spry!”

The Pekingese–also known as the Lion Dog–is an ancient breed which originated in China over 2,000 years ago. There is a magical legend about the breed:

A lion fell in love with a butterfly. But the butterfly and lion knew the difference in size was too much to overcome. Together they went to see the Buddha, who allowed their size to meet in the middle. From this, the Pekingese came.

One Chinese Empress said, “Let the Lion Dog be small; let it wear the swelling cape of dignity around its neck; let it display the billowing standard of pomp above its back.”

“We were all ‘billowing’ in that cold wind!” says Cooper wryly.

Too soon, it was time to move on & explore more. Bye Perki, great to meet you!

 

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Every dog lover knows the heartache–and panic–of having one’s old dog wander off, even for just a few moments. So, this is a special alert for our friends in the Snohomish / Machias area of Northwest Washington: Roscoe, an 11-year-old Dalmation wandered off three and a half days ago, and has not found his way home. If you are in the area and see a sweet, old Dalmation with two black freckles under his right eye, PLEASE help him go home to his very worried family. Here’s what his mom, Michelle, just told us:

“He gets a bit disoriented sometimes. He’s a big mama’s boy, and if he’s outside and can’t find me right when he wants, he panics and wanders off… He had back surgery 2 years ago, but now has an inoperable herniated disc in his neck which we give him medication for–it manages his pain really well, but he’s been without it for 3 days now, so he’ll be going downhill as far as his comfort level; then his anxiety will go through the roof… I am so hoping someone has picked him up, and will call us! A BIG thank you to everyone for their help!”

Please contact Michelle with any information:  206-963-2443

Cooper adds, “We hope for some GREAT news really soon!”

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Swirl knows it.

Ivan the Incredible knows it.

Certainly, little Precious knows it….

“It’s not for nothing that good dogs don’t wear watches. They’re on dog time, which seems the best time of all.” ~Joe Murray

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It’s in the fine print of the contract when we bring these earnest, joyfilled creatures into our lives: that in all probability, one day they’ll take their leave of this Good Earth, while we remain behind to juggle memories, an empty food bowl, a broken heart… We live with that fine print, because life with dogs is just so darn good, we cannot imagine it without their glorious company.

Nevertheless, we shed tears recently when Kelso, one of Cooper’s Cocker Cousins in the Lone Star State, lost his battle with the serious health challenges that had plagued him for months. He’d downright amazed his vet by holding the symptoms at bay for so long. His happy-go-lucky attitude and his fabulous mom, Andrea, an editor for the AQHA Journal magazine (and your basic backyard genius with critters) were a big part of his ability to live many more happy days than anyone could have reasonably hoped for. Of course, his Cocker brother, Domino, cheered him on, too.

We’ll always remember the doggone joy and exuberance he personified, and the fun Cooper had interviewing him for this blog (click here to read the whole Speak! interview here). Here’s a bit of Kelso’s Wisdom: “Perfect happiness is love, whether that’s being cuddled up with my person, or eating a bacon cheeseburger. Or True Love: cuddling while eating bacon cheeseburgers!”

We laughed hearing about the tactics he used to ‘liberate’ socks from his mom–a true Sock Ninja! After he passed, a friend told Andrea that Saint Peter had best watch his socks… We had to smile.

We loved meeting him, and thank Andrea for sharing her boy.

We’ll never forget Kelso–the very Special K.

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“… not Carnegie, Vanderbilt and Astor together could have raised money enough to buy a quarter share in my little old dog…”  ~ Ernest Seaton, naturalist & writer

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In 2006, our friend Vicki decided the timing was perfect to open her heart and her home to a 4-legged senior citizen. A savvy dog-lover involved in rescue, she knew that when elderly dogs are surrendered to shelters, they’re often the least likely to be adopted, even tho they have a wealth to offer. So, she sought a vintage pooch. “You rock, girlfriend!” Cooper exclaims.

When Vicki skedaddled to PAWS in Lynnwood, Washington, a dazzling, blond bombshell of Golden Retriever/Spaniel heritage batted her long eyelashes in our friend’s direction. Imagine Mae West of the canine persuasion… Vicki was a goner. Scooty’s gentle spirit was impossible to resist. The pooch played a little hard-to-get, but her heart just couldn’t deny it: They were made for each other. “I knew it!” says the Coopster. “We’re on our way to a doggone happy ending!”

There was one issue, however, that this new family unit had to settle on the ride home. Scooty, 11, had never met a doggie treat she didn’t like–no, love. “Her claims of starvation must’ve persuaded her previous owner,” Vicki says. The evidence was indisputable: Scooty had a body mass index that would qualify her for a canine Biggest Loser production… Time for a diet! “Brussel sprouts are about to become your best friends,” Scooty was told, in no uncertain terms. (“Mom, please don’t get any ideas,” Coop says.)

Scooty’s fitness routine included long walks and weekly swims at a local dog-friendly spa. Nice dog-paddle! And even tho her blond coat shed golden tumbleweeds all over the house, Vicki didn’t mind. Her Scooty was a treasure–an Angel in Fur! Amiable and affectionate but never clingy (hear that Swirl?), she’d spend lazy days watching the world go by from the porch—that is, when she wasn’t digging a comfy, cool pothole in the garden, to nest in on toasty-warm days. She even liked Rico the cat.

In 2 years, Scooty went from 68 pounds to a svelte 43, and regained lost stamina. Vicki also adopted another senior pooch, Ernie, a jaunty little Beagle mix. On Halloween, Scooty dressed as an angel (of course!) and that scallawag Ernie swaggered in a pirate costume, for trick-or-treating at a local nursing home. Senior-2-senior outreach: Oh, the fun they had! It was grand.

Years passed, quickly–as they do when you are having the best of times. Life was good and full and everything it should be with such special pups. Then, when Scooty was just weeks away from her 15th birthday, she took leave of this good earth, to become a real Angel. “I wouldn’t trade those 4 years with Scooty for a whole lifetime with another dog,” Vicki says. “She was a friend who made me a better person.”
Cooper says, “A wag of the tail to senior dogs and to Vicki, a remarkable lady who appreciates the rare joy they have to offer.”
Very Special photos courtesy Vicki Holt. Thanks!

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