#DogHeroes – Susie’s Senior Dogs

The next star of my #DogHeroes series has to be the charity Susie’s Senior Dogs, and not just the charity itself but also the many individuals that have adopted one of their dogs.

Susie’s Senior Dogs is a non-profit that specialises in offering older dogs a second chance at life, featuring dogs that are up for adoption that, for whatever reason, have been shunted from home to home, found themselves homeless in their senior years, or  perhaps never found their ‘Goldilocks’ home. This wonderful charity in it’s own words: “works to shine a spotlight on senior dogs looking for their home and the shelter or rescue caring for them.”

Why Should You Adopt An Older Dog?

When you hear the term ‘senior dog’ you often imagine a greying, deaf, semi-continent and achy old pooch. But that’s so far from the truth. A senior dog is really any dog over around the age of 8 (sometimes older or younger depending on the breed and size), and most dogs at this age might be showing a little wear and tear, but they’re still happy, active, eager to please and  loving family members.

Some senior dogs haven’t had all the luck. They find themselves cast out of their long-term home because their owner has had a baby, a new job or simply a change of heart. For some, the signs of ageing: stiff joints, greying muzzle, sleeping more often, more minor ailments and vets visits, are too much to handle. And so often it’s the senior dogs that find themselves sent to a shelter or back on the adoption line, at a time when they should be enjoying their home comforts the most.

Senior dogs are also, unfortunately, so often overlooked when there are shelters and rescues crammed full of eager, clambering puppies.

But senior dogs have so much to offer. Just take a look at Susie’s Senior Dogs’ Facebook Page and you can see for yourself the love and appreciation that comes from adopting a senior dog. It seems that the older dogs appreciate their second chances, and are so thrilled to be in a warm and comfortable home once again. I think it’s all about them feeling safe in their twilight years, and we owe them that.

Susies Senior Dogs #DogHeroes
Simon: 16 but still going strong!


Is It Difficult To Care  For An Older Dog?

Yes, it can be. Of course it can. As dogs age they go through the natural ageing process that almost all organisms do: their cells start to deteriorate. They might start to lose their sight, their hearing, they might not be able to get to the toilet in time. As they get older, they won’t always tell you they’re in pain, but if your dog is suddenly a little more snappy or sensitive, it could be that they’re bones are hurting, or that there’s something going on inside.

Of course, some senior dogs have far more serious health problems, through neglect, genetics or simply just as the years tick on. These senior dogs need, and deserve extra love and care, extra medical attention,  perhaps even round the clock care. But surely, the satisfaction you receive from knowing that you helped an old lady in her final months, days, even hours, is one of the best gifts you can ask for?

Many dog owners are nervous about adopting a senior dog, but take a look at the heartwarming stories of those that have welcomed a senior into their lives, even if it was for a very short time.

“Will I rescue another senior knowing how much it hurts to love one so much and spend so little time with them?? Absolutely, without a doubt! I am in so much pain right now, but still I can say, senior dogs have so much to give, and are such a joy. In their short time, they bring more love than can be put into mere words. In addition, the feeling I got from rescuing a senior and giving her a family, good care and so much love is THE MOST AMAZING feeling in the world. It’s the ultimate high!”

What Is #DogHeroes?

#DogHeroes – highlighting the tireless work of dedicated individuals, groups and charities who rescue and rehabilitate dogs, and showcasing the difference that they make, very often relying on their own pocket and the donations of animal lovers like ourselves. Be aware, read the stories, if you see an abandoned or injured dog, pick it up, and if you can’t, give it what you can and pick up the phone. More importantly, understand that even the smallest donation can go a long way.

You can also help by sharing your own #DogHeroes. Use the hashtag, please! Share this blog, nominate your own heroes in the comments,  and feel free to talk about this on social media. If you know a worthy cause, shout about it. If you adopted a senior dog, share your story. And stay tuned for the next blog where I’ll introduce the next #DogHero.

Additional reading:

http://susiesseniordogs.com/about/

https://www.petmd.com/dog/care/evr_dg_caring_for_older_dogs_with_health_problems

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#DogHeroes – Galgos del Sol

I have to start my first #DogHeroes post in Spain. I love Spain, I love the people, their attitude to life and the arts, and have found my trips to Madrid and Valencia to be among my most inspiring. However, and please forgive me for generalising for the moment, I do not love their attitude towards animal rights.

Bullfighting aside, as I could write whole blog posts about it, there are areas of great improvement needed in Spain’s animal welfare laws and regulations. Currently in Spain, the punishment for “cruelly mistreating pets or unjustifiably causing death or serious physical impairment” is three months to a year. And this only extends to pets.

You may or may not have heard of the Galgo, otherwise known as the Spanish Greyhound. Whether this dog is classified as a pet in the law is hard to tell, but in the eyes of many Spanish hunters, or galgueros, these dogs are not pets, but working animals, commodities. Much like greyhounds in the UK that have passed their racing peak, many Galgos find themselves neglected, abused or tossed out onto the street once they’re considered “no longer useful”. As many as 50,000 Galgos suffer every single year.

This is not a blog about shaming or blaming. Spain is aware of the issue, and there are processes in place to improve the welfare of these dogs. Cruelty can be a cultural thing, but it’s also about the individual. One galguero may love his dog, treat it like a member of the family, another may not. Another may send his dog to the “perrera” or the pound, with the best of intentions, but chances are these dogs will be killed within a short space of time.

There are people in Spain and across the world hoping for change, and they are working actively for it. The first of the #DogHeroes must surely be Galgos del Sol.

Who Are Galgos del Sol?

British ex-pat Tina Solera and her dedicated team run Galgos del Sol in Murcia, the heartland of Spain and hunting, where they keep over 150 Galgos, Podencos and other hunting dogs in need of everything from a bit of TLC to major operations and round the clock care.

guapo_galgos-del-sol

This registered charity picks up Galgos dying on the streets, collects  them from perreras and works 24/7 to give these dogs all the medical care, love and attention they so desperately need. There are stories of great tragedy, and there are also stories filled with hope. They also run an educational program on their premises and in local schools, to educate the next generation about the Galgo’s mistreatment.

Visit their Facebook Page and you’ll see just how much time and effort goes into every single dog that passes through their care. The needs of many of these dogs do not come cheap: many are horrifically injured, and some have deep emotional scars which take far longer to heal.

Every single Galgo deserves a second chance, and Galgos del Sol is making this possible. I urge you to visit their page, watch the stories, donate, and if you can, adopt! If you can’t then spread your thanks to these people, as I am sure they will appreciate every kind word, as what they do is emotionally draining at the best of times. And please share their work with the hashtag #DogHeroes.

kaylee_galgos_del_sol
This beautiful little girl is Kaylee, and sadly, she didn’t make it. But thanks to Galgos del Sol, she was rescued from the streets and able to have plenty of love and cuddles before she passed away.

What Is #DogHeroes?

#DogHeroes – highlighting the tireless work of dedicated individuals, groups and charities who rescue and rehabilitate dogs, and showcasing the difference that they make, very often relying on their own pocket and the donations of animal lovers like ourselves. Be aware, read the stories, if you see an abandoned or injured dog, pick it up, and if you can’t, give it what you can and pick up the phone. More importantly, understand that even the smallest donation can go a long way.

You can also help by sharing your own #DogHeroes. Use the hashtag, please! Share this blog, nominate your own heroes in the comments,  and feel free to talk about this on social media. If you know a worthy cause, shout about it. If you adopted a dog from one of these angels, tell the world about it. And stay tuned for the next blog where I’ll introduce the next #DogHero.

Additional reading:

https://www.facebook.com/Galgos-del-Sol-175718192447988/

https://www.thinkspain.com/news-spain/29625/european-pet-protection-and-animal-welfare-law-passed-in-spain

https://www.thedodo.com/the-pain-in-spain-the-saving-of-the-galgos-1102421730.html

https://www.galgosethiqueeurope.eu/