by Karey Wedemeyer
Karey Wedemeyer is a volunteer with the Fresno Bully Rescue. FBR will be sharing their animal rescue adventures with us now every other month.
To some people, Billie would appear to be the least likely dog anyone would want to adopt. She was old, in her last years, and sitting in the stray building at the Fresno SPCA. Her breath did not resemble the sweet smell that puppies blow in your face, nor would she be the best exercise partner with her tired legs. Yet, Pablo and Melani saw only a beautiful little dog that had endured a hard life, and who so badly needed a loving home.
Billie, a female French Bulldog, appeared as though she was used for breeding her entire life. Long, sagging breasts and C-section scars were the only clues to her past. Her ears were scarred from years of living outside and being bitten by flies. Prior to arriving at the local SPCA, she had been attacked by a large dog which injured her armpit and leg. Although Fresno Bully Rescue was able to remove her from the kill shelter, and get her the medical attention she needed, her leg would be permanently damaged, adding to her long list of reasons why she would be “least likely dog” to be adopted, for most people.
During the first week in her foster home, Melani and Pablo asked to meet Billie after seeing her picture on Fresno Bully Rescue’s Facebook page. Prior to the meeting they were told to be prepared for her appearance due to the injuries. Billie had six drains coming from her wounds, an eye infection and was more likely 10 years old, rather than the six years old that the original shelter had told them. This did not scare them away. They immediately fell in love with her and began the process to make her part of their family.
If you were to ask Melani and Pablo why Billie was their dog of choice, and not a cute puppy, they would tell you that adopting an older dog is a great honor and reward. They had both made the decision, after adopting two of their prior dogs as puppies and the other two as young adolescents, that the next family member would be an elderly dog. “It is sad to see elderly dogs be given up prior to their lives ending. It’s sad the dog has no idea why they were abandoned after being part of a family for so many years”, says Pablo. “We wanted to give an older dog a family and as much love that we could [during] their last years. You can tell Billie is extremely grateful, at least we think so. Aside from the emotional reward of rescuing an older dog there is also the luxury of not having to house train, or have a dog go through the chewing-on-the-couch stages again”, Melani says. “Billie is extremely easy and very low maintenance. She loves to take short walks in the yard and longer times cuddling and napping. She is just as cute as any puppy and has given us both plenty to smile about in the short time we have had her.”
Melani and Pablo speak frankly about Billie’s quality of life and the short time they may have with her. While this would scare most people away, admirably they both accept that it will be sad, but giving Billie a loving home during her last years will be worth it. She will not die alone or unloved, Pablo promises. For those who would like to meet Billie, you may see her out shopping with Melanie for dresses at your local pet stores. She already has quite a collection!Along with Melani and Pablo, there are many people out there who have chosen to adopt older dogs and have had the same experience…”much easier than a puppy” and “you just feel the dog is extremely grateful,” are frequent comments. Curly, an eight-year-old Pit Bull, was adopted from Fresno Bully Rescue over a year ago. Like Pablo, John and Lauren felt a dog that has been abandoned by his family in his last years was very sad. They wanted to give a dog what it deserved in its old age, and so they chose Curly. “I know when I look at Curly, he’s so happy and thankful to have a loving home,” says Lauren. Asked if she was as attached to Curly as she would be to a puppy, she replied, “I invite you to spend a day in a family with an older adopted dog; it’s even better! The appreciation I have of Curly and he of my husband and I exceed that of any dog I have ever had.” Like Billie, Curly also needed no house- or leash training, and was not interested in chewing up the furniture. You can follow Curly and his family on Curly’s own Facebook page called “Curly’s Corner,” living a happy life at the beach and mountains!
There are many dogs in need of rescue but the elderly dog is one that is held close to my heart. A quote from Curly’s mom, Lauren, sums it up well: “Often times, people forget that adopting a dog isn’t about you, it’s about them. It’s about saving the one who might need it the most at that moment.”
Be sure to visit www.fresnobullyrescue.org to see all of the dogs of every age looking for their forever homes. You may find the “ least likely” dog to adopt is the One.
Check out more animal rescue stories in our Pet Perspective section. Advertise in KRL and 10% of your advertising fees can go to Fresno Bully Rescue.