Welcome to part 2 of This One Wild Life’s series on adopting senior dogs. In Part 1, Georgia, a senior mixed-breed rescue, travels through the shelter system from Georgia to New York. After surviving the long, grueling treatment for Heartworm, she is now ready to find a forever home.  And so her story continues…

Georgia and her BandanaGEORGIA’S TRIAL HOME

After making her debut at several adoption clinics, Georgia wrapped herself around the hearts of a couple who came to meet her. While the wife worked full time during the day, her husband worked from home. He had limited mobility requiring the use of a wheelchair and he was excited to have a new friend to share his time with. In an unofficial capacity, Georgia was going to have the honor of being his therapy dog.

According to Stacy Wolf, then president of AnimaLovers.org, Georgia was very shy and frightened in her new home at first. She could not be left alone, even briefly. Because limited mobility doesn’t mean no mobility, when the couple did leave their home, Georgia could not cope. As Stacy recalls:

She broke out  of a locked crate, broke through a window screen, and bolted outdoors whenever she could. I personally witnessed one metal crate after she was done with it. It was virtually shredded, which I hadn’t imagined possible.

As it turns out, Georgia was the one in need of therapy assistance. Cathy Crawmer, the behaviorist used by AnimaLovers to work through new adoption issues, spent time teaching the couple how to help Georgia. She made suggestions that, theoretically, could alleviate Georgia’s separation anxiety through repetition over time. The process required leaving the house for just a few seconds and coming back with rewards. The next experience would last 1 minute and the time increments would gradually increase as Georgia learned to trust. It would take a great deal of effort, but the end result would reduce copious amounts of stress for all involved.

The couple tried for a year. More often than not, they took Georgia with them on outings as this made her happiest. Geogia visited with their family and friends and got along well with other animals. Still, this was not always an option. The couple, already facing physical challenges, now felt as though they were held captive in their own home. Leaving Georgia alone simply was not safe.

GEORGIA RETURNS TO ANIMALOVERS

When Georgia came back to AnimaLovers, everyone worried that kennel life would be an impossible adjustment. After a year in a home with constant companionship, a struggle seemed inevitable. There were many phone calls and conversations between organization members who tried to arrange what was best for this girl. There was simply no foster care available. Thankfully, according to Stacy:

Despite her chronically worried expression, she adjusted just fine, settling in as though she had never left. And after reading this depressing account I am so pleased to know that from here the story takes a decidedly up turn.

It’s true! Hope is, once again, on the horizon! Come back tomorrow when Georgia finds Terry, a caring, patient and loving foster mom.

While Georgia’s life certainly had some high points, no living creature of any sort deserves to struggle through so much. Please, keep older dogs in mind the next time you consider adding a new member to your family.