Golden Girls: An Animal Rescue Adventure

Oct 15, 2011 | 2011 Articles, Joyce Brandon, Pets

by Joyce Brandon

Joyce is a part of Animal Compassion Team, an animal rescue in Squaw Valley.

“Yet, getting old is a natural process where things are slowing down, and you’ll begin to see that the sparkle in your heart and the twinkle in your eyes make you beautiful in a way that’s not achievable in youth.” Unknown

We see the beauty in the eyes of a senior dog that is not readily apparent to everyone. The clouded eyes emit truth and wisdom of a long life that cannot be otherwise shared. Seniors are usually calm and quiet and easy to have around yet we are always thrilled to see the occasional blast of youth that sends them running through the room, or throwing a toy in the air.

We hear from people frequently that they couldn’t bare to adopt a senior because they couldn’t bare to lose them so soon. We believe it is an honor to love and cherish these older dogs. Our seniors deserve the best in their final years. They give their best every day of their lives: the least we can do is offer them a comfortable bed and a pat on the head for the days that remain. ACT believes it is a privilege and a duty to care for our animals ALL the days of their lives. My Golden Girls are a living testament to this.

The Golden Girls was a television sitcom back in the 1980s. It featured four women who lived together in Miami: some older than others, but each in their “golden” years. The personality differences of the characters and the interplay is what made the show a success.

Blanche, Rose, Dorothy, and Sophia were the four main characters of the sitcom that ran for seven years. I would like to share with you my four “characters”: Brittany, Ginger, Kelly, and Lilly.

Kelly in the middle, enjoying a nap by the fire with friends, Ginger, Olivia, and Teddy

Brittany is definitely the “Rose” of the group. Rose was kind-hearted, naïve, and a little dense. This pretty much sums up Brittany. Brittany is a Pomeranian mix who was abandoned in a backyard with her buddy Jack.


Brittany is not the brightest star in the sky but she certainly is lovable. Brittany loves life and gets excited easily. She is always happy to see you and her enthusiasm in contagious. Sadly, Brittany has been recently diagnosed with a collapsed trachea, this added to her heart murmur, missing eye, and missing teeth, means that she isn’t the most highly adoptable dog in the pack but we have learned that there is a home for every dog if look long enough. We have been asking for hospice type foster homes and/or adopters but not many people are willing to put their hearts on the line. If you are willing to take a chance on a happy-go-lucky girl who needs a little extra TLC please visit her webpage.
Sophia was the elder of the Golden Girls, the mother to Dorothy. She was frail, yet spunky and in charge. This would sum up my Ginger. Ginger came to us from Kings County Animal Services over a year ago. We have struggled with her health since the day she arrived.

Ginger in her favorite place, a bed by the fire. The beautiful sweater was courtesy of Spot’s Gift House.

Ginger is really old, we aren’t sure how old she is, but I’m pretty sure she is the oldest dog in my home. Ginger loves to sleep. Give that girl a big plush bed and she is a happy camper. We often have to help her to her feet when it’s time to get up but she is spunky once up on all four even surprising us from time to time by running through the house.

Sleeping through the night has become a challenge. Ginger wakes us up just about every night barking to go outside, or barking because another dog has claimed her bed. Arthritis makes it difficult for her to move about, she trips and falls easily, but she still stands her ground when it comes to her bed or her bowl of food. She couldn’t defend either if challenged but the dogs in my house seem to know to respect their elder and she always gets her way. I love Ginger. It is sad to see her failing body, but until she looks at me and tells me it’s time to go, we will support her. When her struggle becomes too great, we will hold her and say goodbye.

Dorothy was brash, outspoken, and was often times insensitive to other’s feelings. Kelly would be my Dorothy and as she ages becomes more and more so. I have had Kelly for probably four plus years now. I was asked one day if I would like to “foster the ugliest dog in the shelter.” Her time was up and although hesitant, what else could I do? Once the dread locks were clipped away, Kelly was actually pretty cute. She is a little black terrier mix that might have even found a home if she could have just been agreeable, even a little.

Kelly has always taken exception to other dogs (and sometimes people) invading her personal space. Kelly’s hearing is just about gone and eyes are growing cloudy. I believe this contributes to her strong reaction when another dog enters her space. She is a face biter and has become a danger to puppies and other small dogs. We have to watch carefully the interaction between our “Dorothy” and the other occupants. Kelly still has many bright moments. She jumps straight up in the air when she’s excited to see you. Kelly won’t win any beauty contests but to know her is to love her.


Lastly is my “Blanche,” Lilly. Blanche was a man-hungry southern belle. Lilly is a ten-pound Chihuahua who definitely prefers the boys. Lilly was surrendered with her best buddy Dexter to a shelter. They came to us via another rescue group. Both were/are very nice dogs and very bonded to one another. As is most often the case, they had to be separated. Dexter was adopted by a very nice family at the coast, leaving Lilly behind at my home.
Lilly loves hanging out with the boys, but certainly has issues with some of the girls. Especially a little black Chihuahua named Ebony. I’m not sure of Lilly’s age but her eyes are growing cloudy and her color is staring to fade. Lilly deserves a great home but is competing with a lot of younger and prettier dogs.
Adopting a senior animal can be a very rewarding experience. We think senior (human) to senior (animal) combinations are perfect. The dogs have less energy, less destructive tendencies, and have tons of love to give. They are the perfect companions! There can be increased medical expenses and this is something to keep in mind. If you are ready, willing, and able to care for one of our “golden” girls or boys please contact me and I’ll be more then happy to make a match.
Check out Spot’s Gift House on Facebook.
Learn more about ACT in their article here at KRL & watch for a new adoptable pet from ACT on our home page every week.

Joyce Brandon is co-founder of Animal Compassion Team, has lived in Squaw Valley for 21 years and has always had lots of four legged friends sharing her mountain home along with her husband Jim, and five children. Joyce works part time for Mountain Valley Community Church and splits the rest of her time between family and animal rescue work. Joyce believes animal rescue is a mission field God has called her to and has given her a passion for.


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