From Dog-day Sadness to Dad’s Joy

Our Hobo 'Mac'

How a photo can save a dog’s life by francy Dickinson

We lost our little hobo, Mac, in June…after being our sweetie pie for 15 years it was heartbreaking. Every anipal parent understands the loss of a family member..lots of tears are shed. For us; it had another layer of sadness because my husband has Alzheimer’s and any change sends him into confusion and any emotional hurt can actually take away from his brain function. Mac’s passing…was a very bad time.

I wanted to wait…just to catch our breath and think about our little westie/schnauzer mix that we had found on a trip over to my mother’s all those years ago. After a big search his family was not found and we kept him as our adopted hobo. Four years after Mac game to us,  a new little Bichon came into our family. A bouncing six month old Missy…walked in the door and stole all of our hearts, even Mac’s. She was his little sister and he took care of her and told her what to do every day of her life. He would start each day telling her to get up and go to the back yard with him. Then during the day, he would lead her through a long list of play, front door duty, mischief and napping. Always the leader Mac protected her on the one hand and told her to sit and be still on the other. As Missy would always say; “Brothers!”

After his passing ‘Over the Rainbow Bridge’  Missy was left alone and very silent. Her quiet personality was stuck in an empty day that melted into another empty day. I was worried. She stopped eating, stopped playing with her toys and would just lay by the front door window and watch for her dear Mac to come back home. Not wanting Missy to be alone and sad and not wanting my husband to be without a lap dog to relax him and give him joy….the hunt for a new dog was on. But where to begin?

I looked around on the net. There’s a lot of pets out there and I was totally confused. Then a dear friend of mine, involved with anipal rescue,  gave me a tip. She said there is a group called “Golden Oldies” a pet rescue that finds older animals (8 yrs +) for older families. Yeah!

My search was now guided in the right direction. I did not want to worry about a young dog with my husband’s condition. No potty training and chewing to go through…I was pleased to learn of the organization and found the different websites to be easy to use. But, I did have a problem with the photos that were placed for the pets. Since I was not able to run around and ‘look’ at the pets that were listed from all over the United States…I had to depend on the photo and the copy to find my next life partner.

Some of the dogs did not even have a photo available and others were so poorly

Mal-Shi 10yrs old Needs Home

taken that you could hardly tell what breed they were. I wanted a small anipal, a boy, over 8 years and below 20#. I am a senior with a back problem and I did not want to have a problem picking up our dog. I love to give hugs and my husband loves to have the dog on his lap – small was key. We also needed a calmer personality in the dog, so I had a few breeds in mind and began my search.

Many of the dogs had physical challenges from nasty homes or advanced age and many of them had personality challenges from losing their family. I was not worried about a challenge but I needed just the right mix. So, when I hit on a website from my own state and found a picture of little dog with a tennis ball in his mouth I was drawn in to look closer.

Looking at the picture the dog had a tennis ball in his mouth and I figured he was about the size of our Bichon, Missy. They would be well matched in size. The description was vague. He was 10 years old and needed a new home, he had some problems with his teeth and loved to play ball. Sounded bouncy and fun…so I called.

It had not been my first call, I had called many of the listed dogs and gotten people that did not know the dog I was calling after, or could not tell me much about their personality or past. I really wanted a dog I knew a bit about so it would fit our family. I did not want a dog that would not fit and have to be ‘tested and returned’. I thought that would be the worst thing to do for a sweet dog that needed loved…to reject them after they had come into the house. So, my calls were made and I was just surprised at the ability of the different services to give me information.

I was somehow pulled tight into the picture of the dog with the tennis ball, inside a play-pen. I felt this was a dog that needed my love. After talking to the adoption people and planning a meet and greet…I was ready. I drove an hour to get to the meeting place and then waited another hour until the dog arrived. I was quite surprised at the size, he was tiny only six pounds. He was a mixture of Mal-Shi. A shy quiet little guy with a strange potty band around his private parts to keep him from squirting. His back left leg had been damaged in a fall and he drug it along as he walked. He had spent his life in a small play- pen during the day and then in the arms of a loving mother after she returned from work. They told me he had nervous pee problem and bad teeth, but they had just been cleaned.

I found out that photo of the tennis ball in the dog’s mouth was a tiny little ball..not a real sized tennis ball. I did not know there was such a thing, nor had I ever had such a small dog. My heart took over and the dog came home with me that day. Little Kirbee was in for a big surprise.

Our home has three floors of stairs and a big fenced backyard. Missy is a playful pup that demands a lot of dollie and ball playing during the day. Potty pads on the floor are fine, but big boys learn to go potty in the back yard and so Kirbee had his work cut out for him.

Changing his food to a full protein mix of Nutro small bits of Lamb n Rice and adding Missing Link would be a must. Missing Link is a supplement that I have always used with my older dogs. It gives them more energy and helps their arthritis pains. Then I added a great supplement called Proden Plaqueoff  that works on reducing plaque build-up on the teeth. We put down a rule of NOT picking up Kirbee before 4PM…he had to move. And move he did…falling in a heap and sleeping after hours of play.

Kirbee his first day in dad's lap

The first week was exhausting for the poor little thing. Hobbling up and down stairs, trying to retrieve small balls and finding brand new toys to squeak and chase. Kirbee used his potty pads well, but started to slowly understand that going outside to potty was regular and often. Slowly week after week, that back leg got stronger. The foot got exercised into more solid footing and before we knew it, he was flying ahead of Missy to go out to the back yard each morning. Now, he is demanding toy time from us…he follows us around with his ball in his mouth and we are expected to keep up with him!

Naps are spent on dad’s lap and daily walkies find Kirbee in dad’s basket of his walker. If you would like to see one of their walks here is a little clip.

Little Missy has found her new brother quiet and easy going. He has cozied up to her side by her favorite front door window to watch the neighborhood activities and share her dollies. With all the dogs that were available for us, we found just the right one and it was all because of that silly photo of a dog with a tennis ball in his mouth.

It was such a great joy to find that a kindred spirit was featured on the “Sunday Morning Show” on CBS.  News Video of Amanda Jones , a professional photographer, was featured with her pet photos. She has started using her talents to take wonderful photos of dogs that are ready for adoption. These photos show the dog in a perfect light, so the pictures can be used on the Internet and bring interested new families into the pal’s life. The amount of dogs adopted from good photos is staggering. Just a simple click. A simple good photo featuring the ‘best side’ of each dog…has made the difference. Each time Amanda snaps her camera… a dog’s life is saved. She personally works with a small adoption organization and she has dramatically raised their adoption rate!

Amanda is now training other photographers to give their time and support to this issue. She is asking them to take up the cause of an animal adoption group and do the photos for them. Photos that show the inner cute, cuddles and love of each anipal. Photos that capture the heart of the family and bring them together for a ‘forever home’- match. Watch this great piece and see what you think.

Are you a person that loves to take pictures? Could you spare an afternoon every couple of weeks to take pictures of anipals that will SAVE THEIR LIVES? If so, go and visit Amanda Jones’s website and find a group of adopted anipals to help. You could change lives just with a click!

Seniors need to have something to hold and love. Loneliness adds to health challenges. Change your life — give your love to a senior pet. Let the senior pet that has no one to care for them, that has been left behind– find a home filled with hugs and love from you. Find out more about Golden Oldies and enjoy a great dog info blog.

We found our little angel…and now we’re blessed with two sweet dogs and days filled with laughter and kisses. Not bad for two old goats like George and I…

Our Kirbee and Sweet Missy

Blessings, francy

4 thoughts on “From Dog-day Sadness to Dad’s Joy

  1. So sorry to hear about Mac 😦 Really glad you found Kirbee though, he looks a sweetie. There are so many older dogs needing good homes, it’s lovely to hear of one finding one.

    We lost our oldie last weekend 😦 We are so blessed to have had the chance to help him smile again though. I photograph dogs for rescue and am so glad I have lots of photos of my own dogs too.

    Best wishes,


  2. Thank you for being so helpful and doing the photos for rescue anipals…what a difference that makes in so many lives. You save the lives of little pals by giving them pictures to show them off and then without knowing you bring such joy to people you never meet…as they accept the pals into their lives. You are what makes it all happen…funny how we are all a piece of the puzzle…Great work, thanks! @MissBusyBiz and francy

  3. What a beautiful story… Missy is lucky to have Kirbee; Kirbee is lucky to have Missy; you and George are blessed with their adoring love. So wonderful to hear of a senior pet getting a loving second chance!

  4. PepiSmartDog: What a wonderful outcome. Kirbee and Missy are both so beautiful together. Wonderful to see how well George is able to keep up with the doggies on their walk. Mac sure helped you pick the right little guy when you chose Kirbee. As a Pet Pram/Stroller Advocate I also give George a *high paw* for taking out Kirbee in the basket ! HUGS :=o)

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