Welcome to part 3 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 and survives the grueling treatment for Heartworm. In Part 2, Georgia finds a year-long trial home but is returned to kennel life due to severe separation anxiety. And so, in Part 3, Georgia’s story continues, thankfully in a better direction…
MEET TERRY, GEORGIA’S FOSTER MOM
Georgia’s ever-changing circumstances were often a topic of conversation among AnimaLovers board members and volunteers. Terry Silic, a member privy to these conversations, was saddened by Georgia’s turbulent life. Although she wanted to help, Terry didn’t feel well-enough equipped.
As a minor concern, Terry’s animal family already consisted of cats and her rescue dog, Poppy. Since Georgia’s trial home had proven she did well with other animals, that left the greatest concern to deal with, Georgia’s separation anxiety. Recalling her initial thoughts about the issue, Terry says:
I’m single. What would I do with her when I was out? I was really afraid to leave her alone in the house. I had heard that she broke out of a crate and a window. To look at her, this just didn’t seem possible. Still, she couldn’t be crated.
Never fully thwarted by this challenge, Georgia was always on Terry’s mind. While transporting Georgia to an adoption clinic with Ellen Manning, another AnimaLovers volunteer, the topic of fostering came up. That day, Ellen offered to help and that’s when everything changed. Terry was right. She could never have done this alone. But now she had Ellen. Together, they took Georgia to Shampoodle for a bit of a spa day and, afterward, Georgia was off to meet Poppy at her new foster home.
For the first month, when Terry needed to leave, Ellen or Terry’s next-door neighbor would babysit. Cathy Crawmer, the behaviorist used by AnimaLovers, also entered the scene once more. Cathy taught Terry how to help Georgia and Terry took the message to heart:
What I needed to do was leave her alone. She needed to see me leave and then come back. She was never actually alone. Poppy was always there with her. I started with 15 minutes and slowly worked up to 5 hours. And it worked. She never destroyed anything in the house or had any accidents.
Georgia thrived with Terry. She loved being outdoors, sunbathing in the yard, and seemed to feel safe there. Georgia was sometimes so content outside that Terry would have to retrieve Georgia’s leash to bring her in. Although she mainly ignored the cats, Georgia didn’t ignore Poppy. In fact, she followed Poppy’s example, learning the creature comforts of the couch and bed.
Terry grew very fond of Georgia and Georgia loved Terry in return. When I asked Terry to share her thoughts about their relationship, she replied:
Where do I begin? First by getting the Kleenex box. Those sad, sad eyes. She just melted your heart. Then she’d give you a kiss.
Her age was never an issue for me. I didn’t see her as an eight year old dog, she was just a sweet girl. If no one had ever adopted her, she would always have a home with me. She would never again wonder where her next meal would come from or want for shelter, love or attention. I called her my Georgie Girl. I loved her very, very much. She definitely left her paw prints on my heart.
The act of fostering asks one to overcome many challenges, the greatest of which lies in the letting go. At an adoption event called Bark in the Park, the King family came to meet Georgia. Georgia greeted Barb King with a kiss and the family took her aside so all could get acquainted. Terry remembers:
When they said they were interested in her, I started crying. I was happy for her, but all I could do was cry. The day I took her to Barb’s, I cried all the way home.
So, yes, this was a sad time for Terry, but Georgia was on her way to her permanent home with a family who would focus solely upon her. Thanks to Terry’s work, Georgia had made significant steps and, without the important work the two accomplished together, Georgia may never have moved forward.
Come back tomorrow to learn more about Georgia’s life with the King family. And, if you think this is the end of Georgia’s story, rest assured, it is just a new beginning.
While Georgia’s constant hardship is finally coming to a close, many more animals like her struggle every single day. Please, consider adding a senior or special needs pet to your family.