When you decide to bring a dog or cat home, your life may be forever changed. Naturally, there’s nothing like the friendship, companionship, and love of a furry friend. Also, you may have the opportunity to change a pet’s life. Chances are, this pet may be getting a second chance at life, their first real home, or a forever family just by your choice to adopt a pet from a welfare organization. We all love our pets and are inspired by the way they impact our lives daily. In honor of “Change a Pet’s Life Day,” we talked with Trupanion team member Christina Davison on her pet adoption story and how her rescue dogs have inspired her during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Change a pet’s life by opening up your home to a rescue dog
When did you start rescuing dogs?
My husband, Timm, and I started rescuing dogs back in 2015 when we had bought our first house together.
What inspires you to rescue senior dogs?
We had never thought about rescuing senior dogs until our first rescue Tippy came along. After living in a rental that didn’t allow pets, the first thing we wanted to do was to get a dog.
Neither of us wanted to adopt a puppy. As cute as they are, we didn’t think we’d have the energy to deal with training a young dog. We were looking for an adult dog that already had some training and could fit into our sedentary lifestyle.
Share your story about your rescue dogs
Tippy: 11-year-old Beagle Shepherd mix
Our story begins with Tippy, an 11-year-old Beagle/Shepherd mix. Timm found him on petfinder.com, and at first, I had my doubts about adopting an 11-year-old dog.
What if he has a lot of health issues? What if he passes away as soon as we get him? But we thought he was adorable and so we figured: let’s go meet him and if it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t work out.
At the shelter, the volunteer brought Tippy into a room, and what we saw just melted our hearts. Tippy was an energetic 11-year-old boy who ran into the room and wanted to play.
Other than his grey muzzle, you wouldn’t think he was a senior dog. We both knew that no matter how long we had Tippy (whether it was five weeks, five months, or five years) he would enjoy his golden years with us.
We had Tippy for three and a half years and he passed away at the ripe old age of 15.
Pompey: 10-year-old Pug
Next up, Pompey, the 10-year-old Pug came into our lives. Also, we wanted to have two dogs at our home so we looked online for another rescue dog to adopt. We found London, a black, 10-year-old Pug.
So, we went to Emerald City Pet Rescue to meet London, but interestingly enough we ended up with Pompey instead. The shelter told us the two Pugs were playing together and if we wanted to meet both of them.
Pompey was recovering from skin issues and bald patches all over his body, but he engaged with us while the other dog just wandered around and ignored us. Timm and I joked that since Pompey looked a mess, he had to work harder to be adopted, and so we did.
Pompey was the most laid back dog I’ve ever had, except for dinner time. He lost his mind every time we prepared his food. For the most part, he was easy going and nothing ever bothered him.
Sadly though, Pompey had a lot of health issues from everything to ear infections and skin issues. We only had him for two years when he passed away in 2020 from a collapsed trachea.
After Tippy had passed away and we were down to one dog, Timm and I were interested in looking to permanently foster a dog. Further, we wanted to permanently foster a senior dog with health issues since, at that stage in their lives, the dog would not be adoptable.
Merryweather: Five-year-old Pug
The dog we were looking to foster wasn’t available, but Merryweather the Pug was. She and two other Pugs had come from China and were still going through the process of being spayed. She needed a home to recover and then she would be put up for adoption. At five years of age, Merryweather was the youngest yet, but we figured, why not?
Fast forward a month and Timm and I became foster fails. We fell in love with her silly personality and she just adored Pompey. Any chance she got she cuddled or groomed Pompey.
It’s been nearly two years since that foster fail and she’s still happily with us.
Gus: Eight-year-old Boxer Pitbull mix
Finally, we get to Gus, an eight-year-old Boxer/Pitbull mix. After Pompey died in May 2020 we held off getting another dog since we were still devastated by his loss, and wanted to wait until 2021 before we adopted another dog.
The first week of January we began our search. It didn’t take us long to find Gus. He had come from a hoarder situation in California and based on his sad situation, both Timm and I knew we had to meet him.
Once he passed the Merryweather test (the little princess had to approve), we filled out the paperwork and took him home. We’ve had him for a week now and he’s been the best dog: respectful of Merryweather likes to play with his toys, and just has a calm demeanor.
How have your rescue dogs impacted you during the pandemic?
These dogs have impacted me in such a positive way. If I ever feel frustrated or depressed about being in quarantine for so long, I just remember that I have them to cuddle or play with and everything seems alright in the world.
What do you find are the benefits of adding senior rescue dogs to your home?
The shelters are full of abandoned older pets that are still as sweet as puppies and are generally house trained and make great companions because of that.
These pets still have a lot of life and love to give and they deserve to live out their final years at a home.
Even if the senior pets we adopt only are with us for a year or two, at least they’re in a warm home, where they get all the love, pets, and food they could ever want.
I joke with my husband that our home is the retirement community for senior pets.
How do your rescue dogs help you during your workday?
Having the dogs has been so great during the pandemic. I work from home so it’s nice to have them sleeping by my side. Also, if I want to take a quick break I can take them for a walk around the block so that both of us can get some exercise.
Change a pet’s life may mean they’ve completely changed yours
Whether you’re adopting a pet for the first time or have a pack of rescue pets at home, bringing a new dog or cat home opens up your homes and hearts to an experience like no other. Discover how the love and companionship can change your life for the better!
Thank you for sharing your pet adoption journey with us Christina!
Have your adopted or fostered a shelter dog or cat? Tell us in the comments below.
For more on COVID-19 and pets, read How to Help Animal Shelter’s During COVID-19