We have been blessed to share our lives with some incredible dogs. While it would be impossible to summarize how much they mean to us, we’ve provided abridged versions of their stories below. The dates below each name refer to the time they spent with us.
December 2006 – February 2008
Brandy is the dog who started it all. She was a 12-13 year old terrier mix and Suzanne had been her dogsitter for a few years when Brandy’s owner passed away in a tragic car accident. The family asked Suzanne if she would find Brandy a home while they dealt with the rest of the estate. Suzanne brought Brandy home, intending to find an adopter, but quickly realized that Brandy wasn’t going anywhere. Despite having bad eyes, bad teeth, a face only a mother could love and being pretty selective about who she did and didn’t like, Brandy quickly stole a big piece of Suzanne’s heart. When Suzanne went through a painful breakup and moved to Seattle in 2008, Brandy was by her side through it all.
Shortly after moving to Seattle, Suzanne was looking online for dogsitters and stumbled across a rescue group called Old Dog Haven. After reading about their mission to save at-risk senior dogs, Suzanne looked over at Brandy and the tears started flowing. She knew that if Brandy had ended up in a shelter after her owner passed away she never would have stood a chance. Suzanne has loved dogs for as long as she can remember but in that moment she knew that she would focus her efforts on seniors.
Sadly, Brandy passed away about 6 weeks after Suzanne moved to Seattle. It was almost like she stayed around long enough to help Suzanne transition and then knew it was okay to go. All of the other geriatric dogs in Suzanne’s life have Brandy to thank for sending her down this path of old dog rescue. We miss you, Little Gal.
May 2008 – March 2010
While Brandy was the one who initiated Suzanne’s love of geriatric dogs, Rugby was the one who confirmed it. A few weeks after saying goodbye to Brandy, Suzanne was on PetFinder.com and saw the face of a sweet senior yellow lab looking back at her. The posting said: “Rugby is a nice old man, with a good heart and bad breath. He has a host of old doggie issues, but he is still a very sweet, old dog. He’s Rugby. I know between the name and breed you can picture exactly what I’m talking about.”
Rugby was a 13-year old yellow lab whose family was moving out of the country. They had had him since he was a puppy and were heartbroken about rehoming him. Rugby went with them the first time they moved abroad, but they knew that a long flight and life in a tropical climate were not what he needed at this point in life. Suzanne wasn’t sure she was ready for another dog yet, but after seeing Rugby’s pictures and story she found herself sending an email to Rugby’s parents, Jenny and Erik. It was love at first sight when they met and a few weeks later Rugby moved in.
Suzanne and Rugby went pretty much everywhere together, except when Suzanne was traveling for work. During those times he’d go to Suzanne’s friend Erin’s house, where he was an honorary member of the family and was doted on by Erin and her mom Pat. Or, he would go to Suzanne’s friend Emily’s house, where he was lovingly called “Rugby Toots” because of his…aroma. Rugby also spent a lot of time at Norm’s Dog Bar in Seattle (not that Suzanne spent a lot of time there…) and the servers knew him by name.
Rugby was one of those dogs that you meet and immediately fall in love with. And, speaking of falling in love, Kevin has Rugby to thank for Suzanne falling in love with him. Our first weekend away together was a roadtrip in Kevin’s car and he never even flinched when Suzanne asked if her incontinent yellow lab could come along. Right then and there Suzanne knew that she had found the one and appreciates Rugby for helping with the approval process. We miss you, Rugby Toots!
August 2010 – January 2013
After losing Rugby we took a few months off from being dog parents. We were still volunteering for Old Dog Haven but we weren’t quite ready to fill that Rugby-sized hole in our hearts. And then one morning Suzanne saw this on the Old Dog Haven website:
Suzanne knew she needed to rescue this dog. She tried calling Kevin at work but she kept having to leave messages because he was in meetings (Kevin does a really funny impression of those voicemails, you should ask him about it sometime). Her final message was that she had called Old Dog Haven and was headed to the shelter to rescue this dog.
We took in “old lady chocolate lab” (who we renamed Molly Malone) as a Final Refuge or hospice dog, through Old Dog Haven, but she quickly decided she had plenty of life left to live. After some good food and lots of love her coat turned from a sun-bleached brown to a beautiful dark brown. She went hiking and snowshoeing with us, she played ball almost every day and she made friends everywhere she went. Apparently she wasn’t quite ready to retire after all! She also spent 7 months touring the country with us in our RV.
Molly was picked up as a stray so we’ll never know what her life was like before we knew her, but we loved every minute of our 3+ years with her and we still miss her dearly. One of the best things about Molly was the loving relationship she developed with Wylie. We brought him home just weeks after adopting her and she wasn’t immediately convinced that she should have to share us. But before too long the two of them were inseparable.They became best friends and spent many hours snuggled up together napping peacefully as any old couple should do.
October 2010 – June 2013
After we lost Wylie we wrote about him and his story on our personal blog. You can read it here:
Despite being blind Wylie never had a bad day. We learned a lot from him about taking things in stride and not letting the little things bother us. Not a day goes by that we don’t miss this dog. He was one of the gentlest souls we’ve ever met.
February 2013 – Present
A few weeks after losing Molly, we were settling into life in Savannah and really missed having a second dog. We knew Wylie felt more secure when he had a buddy around and we were also really grieving the loss of our “old lady chocolate lab”, so Suzanne started looking online. Whenever she found a dog of interest she sent the link to Kevin and waited for his response. When she sent the link for Penny, he finally said, “Yes, yes, let’s go meet her today!” (Suzanne suspects that this had something to do with the fact that this was the first link she sent over where the dog wasn’t missing any limbs and had all of her faculties and seemed pretty much normal).
Penny was at the Humane Society of Savannah when she came into our lives but she was originally from Asheville, NC. Her family lost their home and could no longer keep their pets, so they took Penny and their other dogs to the Asheville Humane Society. Penny ended up on a transport to Savannah when our Humane Society had extra space and offered to help their friends in Asheville. Despite being 9 years old, Penny had lots of energy, had obviously been well taken care of and was a very happy dog. We couldn’t have been in her kennel more than 3 minutes before deciding to adopt her.
Penny is now Kevin’s faithful farm dog and goes to work with him most days (If she had her way she would go with him EVERY day; she is definitely a daddy’s girl). Despite her gray face, Penny still has the energy of a dog half her age and is in great shape. She does have some separation anxiety that we’re working on (but who wouldn’t have separation anxiety after being uprooted from their forever family and ending up in a shelter as a senior). We feel bad for her family that they had to give her up – she’s a wonderful dog and we want them to know that she is happy, healthy and loved. Other than the farm, her favorite place to be is at the beach, jumping waves and chasing a tennis ball. We love our Penny.
July 2013 – Present
Suzanne wrote a story for her work blog about how Noah came into our lives. Click here to read more:
Since July he has gained weight, been through one round of heartworm treatment and worked his way into our hearts. We still have no idea how old he is. He has the mind of a young dog but the body of an old dog. The healthier he gets the younger we think he is and we hope to have many happy years with this sweet boy.