During this special time of year when we reflect on our blessings, Kevin and I would like to thank HHS for the blessing of Cocoa in our lives. He is a beautiful little bundle of joy!
He has many cute characteristics, but one of our favorite ones is his morning attention time with us. Cocoa will either climb up to my shoulder to be held and petted, or he will get his scratch-down time from Kevin where he rolls all over the floor and purrs in delight. Sometimes, he even does little somersaults!
Cocoa is also affectionately known as our "foster monitor". Whenever we have foster kittens in the house, he comes and sits on the kittens' towels by their door while we are in the room. He is very curious about what the kittens are doing, but he is always a perfect gentleman and never interferes with their care. On a few occasions, he has batted his paw under the door to play with them. He has been amazing when we foster. I really think he remembers his time in that very same room when he was a tiny baby.
I hope you enjoy my favorite baby picture of Cocoa, along with his adult picture that is attached.
Thank you, HHS, for caring for all the animals in your shelter. Each one of you makes a positive difference in their lives.
Kathie and Kevin Irving
Our family has had the good fortune to adopt two pets from you. The first was a kitten we named Stripe who has been entertaining us for nine years. The second was a yellow lab-mix puppy we named Buster whom we adopted almost five years ago.
It is with great sorrow that I wanted to let you know Buster passed away on Sunday, November 24, 2013. Unfortunately, Buster was diagnosed with t-cell lymphoma in early October. Our vet began chemo treatments immediately, but the cancer was very aggressive. He was surrounded by loving family members when he passed.
Please know how much Buster was loved and how grateful we are to have had five wonderful years with him. We're also grateful to HHS for allowing him to join our family. Buster brought nothing but happiness, love and energy to our household. He also brought joy to many others around Hinsdale. Buster and I had our regular walking routes, and Buster was well known for his vertical (all four legs at once) leaping ability. He brought smiles to many faces.
When the time is right, I'm sure we'll adopt another dog from HHS. However, for right now I just wanted to let you know how thankful we are for every day we spent with Buster. This is a picture of Buster in happier, healthier days.
November is Adopt a Senior Pet Month, a month where animal shelters across the country strive to bring public awareness to the plight of homeless senior animals by promoting their adoption through educational information and flyers featuring sorrowful pictures of old dogs and cats with heart-tugging pleas to adopt.
I've always had a very soft spot for the senior animals that have come through our doors. I am easily weakened when I see a pair of old eyes and a graying muzzle staring back at me in an email from a high-kill shelter, especially when accompanied with the alert EXTREMELY URGENT! As a result, I rarely hesitate to accept the transfer of an older dog in need, and I am admittedly guilty as charged of doing my best this month to tug at the heartstrings of potential adopters by promoting the adoption of senior dogs through my postings on the HHS Facebook page.
There are so many rewards that come with sharing your life with a senior dog. I know this not just through the knowledge I have acquired by working in the animal welfare field for 28 years, but also because I have had the honor and privilege of personally loving a number of elderly pets over the years. This month of senior pet awareness is especially poignant for me, as it is also the month my Great Dane, Bella, turns 11 years old. We are very fortunate that she is still doing well, all things considered, as 11 is a ripe old age for a giant breed such as a Great Dane. Their average life expectancy is 8-10 years.
The effects of aging happens gradually. You don't just wake up one morning and suddenly notice your dog struggling to get up the stairs, or how very meticulous she has become in her efforts to slowly lower herself into a laying down position. But one day you do become conscious of all the changes that have occurred over time, not just your pet's physical changes, but with the new routine you have established to accommodate the needs of an aging animal. And when you accept the reality that there are far fewer days ahead of you than behind you in your relationship, it is then that you really begin to appreciate all that comes with loving an aging four-legged companion. You become more conscious of quiet moments together, sometimes spent just watching her in a deep sleep on her bed, or the extra strokes you provide when she comes and lays her big head on your lap as she closes her eyes in contentment.
I really believe dogs become more loving as they age, or maybe we just become more aware of how loving they have always been. I wonder if they have a sense, too, that their days with you are limited. I don't know. I do know that however much longer Bella is in our lives will be especially cherished time. It's hard to believe that little 12 week old puppy with the goofy ear that moved into our home and hearts 11 years ago will not be with us much longer. We gradually begin to say our slow goodbyes, treasuring each and every moment of life and love.
Thought we would share the latest adventure Koda was on. He got to go swimming and camping with our family and about 15 boy scouts! Lots of fun, swimming and other dogs to play with! Needless to say he was a tired dog after a long day of play!
He has gone to puppy school and is now in obedience 101, And is doing pretty well. He gets along very well with other dogs and people, so holding back his crazed enthusiasm sometimes is hard :). He loves his daily long walks through the forest preserve near us and still thinks the geese look like they'd be fun to chase! He is a good swimmer and loves the water!!
So aside from the occasional chewed item in the house (getting those adult teeth in was tough), he is a good dog and is fast becoming my little 45lb shadow.
With puppy kisses and paw prints,
Pamela Shabica :)
It’s been a year since Dolly the Saint Bernard came to live with us; as you can see, she has adjusted nicely to her surroundings. While she is starting to outgrow her “puppy behavior” she is still having trouble understanding that she is not a small dog. She loves to hop up on our laps and the snoring begins shortly after she settles in. She has taken over both our house and our hearts. She loves ‘her boys’ and her squeaky toys. Thank you again from the bottom of our hearts for allowing us to take home this wonderful little girl!