Welcome to part 4 of This One Wild Life’s series on adopting senior dogs. In Part 1, Georgia, a senior mixed-breed displaced by Hurricane Katrina, travels through the shelter system from Georgia to New York and survives a grueling treatment for Heartworm. In Part 2, Georgia finds a year-long trial home but is returned to the kennel due to severe separation anxiety. In Part 3, Georgia finally has a foster mother and works on her anxiety issues. And so our story continues…
GEORGIA’S NEW FAMILY
Barb King, wife of Mike and mother of Rachel and Jason, wasn’t keen on bringing pets into her household for some time. She has had several sick cats over the course of 25 years which took it’s toll in constant care and making the difficult decision to put them down. After that, Barb decided “no more.” In fact, for 5 years, that’s the way things remained.
More recently, the circumstances in Barb’s life rapidly changed. She suffered a tremendous loss after the passing of two family members within a very short span of time. To emotionally decompress, she took a year off from teaching. It was during that break that she perused her local penny saver. An ad about an elderly homeless dog caught her eye. Barb suddenly felt compelled to call, but the dog had already been adopted.
At first Barb was relieved. She had never spoken to her family about dog adoption but, not long after, she brought it up. Her children were nearly grown, she had the time to spend with a dog and, if her family was willing, she was determined about one thing:
This idea of an older dog had been planted in my head and I think that these older animals often get overlooked.
THE DAY THEY MET
Barb began gathering information and invited her husband to an adoption event called Bark in the Park. When they arrived, the dogs were still being brought in so Barb and Mike took a little walk. As a woman of strong faith, Barb had been praying about this decision for some time. She said another prayer during that walk:
Ya know, God, if we’re supposed to have a dog, make it clear to me – that we’re supposed to have a dog and make it clear which one it is.
It appears somebody was listening.
We got there and Georgia walked right up to us. She walked right over to us wanting to be pet, wagging her tail like crazy – licking us!
After Georgia’s foster mom, Terry, explained Georgia’s medical issues and about her separation anxiety, Barb and Mike took Georgia aside for nearly an hour to pet her, hug her and get to know her. When Tim, AnimaLovers’ dog adoption director, came to explain the adoption process, Barb asked her husband if they wanted to step away to talk it over. Mike’s reply?
What is there to talk about? She’s the one!
Georgia was welcomed with open arms by the entire King family the family soon after. There were certainly hurdles to cross, like starting Georgia on anti-anxiety medication to help her cope, but there was fun to be had too. Barb wrote to Tim about their experiences:
We went camping over the long weekend up to Moreau. Georgia is a camping dog for sure! We walked and hiked all over the place and she had a ball. …
The medication definitely seems to have improved some of her anxiety. … Most of the teeth chattering has stopped. She still prefers to know where I am at all times. … She seems happiest when she is in the midst of all of us together.
We have unanimously decided that we would like to formally adopt her.
And so the contract was signed.
A BETTER LIFE
Georgia has since enjoyed swimming at camp sites, taking car rides, truck rides and walks at least twice a day. She has also claimed her favorite place, which is anywhere in “her” backyard. Georgia has even revisited her chance to become a therapy dog, making appearances at the assisted living facility where Barb’s mother lives. One thing is a constant no matter who has known her. Georgia’s sweet, sweet face always brings a smile and her eyes always greet you with a love so deep. Finally, she has found a family who will love and care for her… to the end.
Don’t forget to come back tomorrow for the final chapter in Georgia’s tale. Yep, there’s still more! For now, I leave with a slideshow of Georgia’s happy times. (Don’t let her camera shy expression fool you.)
While Georgia finally found happiness, many more animals like her struggle every single day. Please, consider adding a senior or special needs pet to your family.