By the time a dog has a muzzle as white as Maisie’s they’ve lived to see a lot of things.
You hope the white muzzle represents years of walks, soft beds, friendly pats and looking up at someone who looks back with love. For Maisie, we are not sure she has many memories like that. She ended up in the city shelter over Thanksgiving and to be sure, we are grateful that she thus ended her years of street living. She got a meal, a place to sleep out of the weather and a veterinarian to check on her. She got connected to people who reached out on her behalf. I don’t think many people have done much on Maisie’s behalf before now. But a lot of people jumped in trying to make up for that in their way just lately.
When she crossed our path, she had missed lots of meals. She had missed lots of heartworm preventative and now has heartworms. She never got spayed, so somewhere out there, she probably has lots of puppies. She ducks her head when we move to pet her. She seems to have an urgency about her to bolt–just to move in any direction. It is as if she is constantly trying to locate something or maybe someone. She looks past us at whatever that is that neither she nor we can see. She’s been started on doxycycline in preparation for her heartworm treatment. She will need to be spayed and our vets will determine when she is strong enough for that and plan it around getting those heartworms treated. She will also need an extensive dental, as not only is she a senior, but it appears her diet has not been good for a long, long time. She’s “lumpy” and that is often just benign lipomas.We will look at each closely. Some are close the spot mammary cancer shows up. Step by step, we take this journey together.
We’re here now. Maisie is no longer alone. Our medical team will work to repair her body. But the really broken part–the shattering of her trust in humans, is something we cannot cut or inject away. It is only cured by moments. Thousands of moments must overwrite the moments that came before. We now work to eclipse memories of the hunger, fear and loneliness that loom behind her eyes. Armed with soft beds and softer voices, we begin.
EVERY DOG’S STORYMary Oliver, Dog Songs
I have a bed, my very own.
It’s just my size.
And sometimes I like to sleep alone
with dreams inside my eyes.
But sometimes dreams are dark and wild and creepy
and I wake and am afraid, though I don’t know why.
But I’m no longer sleepy
and too slowly the hours go by.
So I climb on the bed where the light of the moon
is shining on your face
and I know it will be morning soon.
Everybody needs a safe place.
March 17, 2017 | It’s Maisie the Senior Dog For The Win!
And then it happened…
Maisie the old dog got adopted.
We asked her new Mom some questions about her journey with Maisie.
Did you set out to adopt a senior dog?
“I began considering adopting a dog about five months ago, and so the search began. I knew I wanted an adult, and was open to a senior. I chose to adopt a senior because they are the easiest to overlook, yet have so much to offer a family.
I browsed hundreds of dogs before coming across Maisie. I read about her, and she just pulled at my heart strings. She has the sweetest face, and I knew that she needed a special adopter that would be willing to help build her confidence, her trust, and simultaneously provide the medical care that she needed. I immediately filled out an application, and so the process began.
Her face may be white and she may be old, but her heart is pure gold. You can look at Maisie and see that her path has not been the easiest. She has a scar running from her collar to her mid-back that appears to be the result of a chemical burn. She is heartworm positive, has had multiple litters of puppies, and then when she should be enjoying her “retirement” and living the good life, she finds herself on the euthanasia list at B.A.R.C.
Yet through ALL of this, while she may be a little shy and jumpy at times, she still shows so much love.”
Maisie’s First Night at Home
“She was understandably nervous when I brought her home, but I just sat on the floor and gave her treats and loved on her. Within an hour, once I showed her she was allowed on the furniture, she was jumping on the couch and inching closer – until eventually she laid between my legs and just flopped her head down and napped. The first night I had her home we just laid around, watched movies, and got acquainted with each other. From that point forward, she certainly decided I was her “person”. I’m not sure I picked Maisie, she picked me. I opened my home to her, but brought her home as a trial. I wanted to make sure she could handle the stairs comfortably and that my home was right for her. She is the one that decided she wanted to stay. Every day I see more of her personality come out, and trust me, she has a TON of personality. I wasn’t looking for a dog that was going to look the cutest on a Christmas card. I was looking for a dog that the average person wouldn’t adopt, but would fit into my home and be happy. Every dog deserves a chance to live the good life and after bringing her home, I never had a doubt in my mind where she belonged. I had a friend stop by to meet her, and Maisie can be a little shy with new people at first. She wagged her tail and was happy to see someone new, but she jumped right on the couch and sat next to me. I think she knew at that point she was safe. If I sit on the couch, she is right there ready to snuggle. If I’m doing housework, she is either hanging out on the couch or lying on her bed. Could you really ask for a better dog?”
Baths and Starbucks
“Overall, she is doing fantastic and loving her new life. She HATES baths, but I’m doing them at home because I don’t think a groomer is in her best interest right now. It’s loud, stressful, and I don’t know any groomers yet that I trust with her. She’s a special girl and needs someone slow, patient, and understanding. There is a reason why she is as shy and somewhat fearful as she is, but we will never know her whole story. I’m hoping her adventures associate positive things with strangers. She does very well in public settings, and doesn’t seem nervous. Fortunately, she is food motivated and needs to gain weight anyway, so it’s a helpful training tool. She enjoys pup cups from Starbucks, but she only gets a little bit of it because that is WAY too much dairy and sugar for any dog. A few licks never hurt though.”
Sometimes people wonder why we can seem so passionate when we talk about the No Kill model. It’s because it makes stories like this possible when the old way of sheltering doesn’t. Full stop.
UPDATE December 2017
Not only is Maisie doing just great but she has a sister now (also adopted from FFL) named Darla!
These girls are rockin their new life together and have the Christmas photo to prove it.
Way to “sleigh” it girls!