Last updated on March 28, 2016
My Old Dog: These are three words that dog moms and dog dads dream of saying about their own dogs. How often have we been told that 40 is the new 20 or that 60 is the new 40? With all of the advances in nutrition, supplementation, veterinary medicine and, of course, the human-canine bond—10 certainly has become the new 5 in the canine world. If we play our cards right, however, and provide our dogs with a good diet, mental and physical stimulation, proper veterinary care, and a loving home, our dream comes true and our puppies grow into adulthood and then eventual a healthy old age.
What about older dogs, then, who are dumped at shelters, abandoned, and/or tossed aside when they share the same traits as human beings: Time passes and they age. If some things get better with age, why are there millions of homeless older dogs sitting in shelters and waiting for their forever homes? If you’ve considered adopting a dog in need, maybe it’s time to consider adding a golden oldie to your family pack.
I’ve heard pet parents say, “I can’t play with my dog any longer, he has arthritis” or “I want to play with my dog, but he’s old and can’t last long.” My advice? Make do with what you have!
As a pet parent, my goal is to help keep my dog happy and healthy, defying the signs of aging and maintaining his zest for life for many years to come. Not everyone feels the same way. And so Laura T. Coffey did what any dog lover of the highest order would do: She wrote a book about rescued pets with remarkable second acts.
In fact, My Old Dog is a smile-inducing, action-provoking work of non-fiction art that I read in one complete sitting. Age is a part of life, and Coffey teaches us not only to embrace it, but to do so in the company of dogs who have a few more tick marks on their life’s clock.
I had the pleasure of meeting Laura at the Dog Writer’s Association Awards and Luncheon this year. She is a bright ray of sunshine with a genuine affection for dogs. As she showed me the book, this is the dog who caught my eye.
Meet Stacie, a 10-year-old tan Cocker Spaniel. As a Cocker Spaniel aficionado and lover, is it any wonder this face beckoned to me from the book’s cover?
She was surrendered to an animal shelter by owners who got her off CraigsList because the dog was unable to be housebroken. Her new rescuers worked long enough with sick dogs to know that something was wrong with Stacie.
“She leaned against me in the van, and my heart melted.”
Dog lovers know what happens next. A tricky surgery followed; Stacie would have died within days without the life-saving operation.
“Stacie is a snuggler, and her wigglebutt is absolutely constant — she walks down the hall in the morning wiggling that tail.”
A Sixty Pound Hunk of Wiggly Love
Rescued from neglect, Healey is a blind dog who has learned to love again, thanks to Teresa Powell. He was found tied to a pole, underweight, covered in sores, and missing two inches of his tail. Powell and her husband could have given up on Healey, with his food aggressive ways and distrust of his rescuers. The couple wondered if they made a mistake. Thanks to walking with him with no other dogs around, Healey began to emerge from his overly protective shell.
Seniors Rock and You Can Help Them
I love what the author says near the end of the book. In sharing actionable steps that readers can take to make a difference for an older dog, this puts My Old Dog in a league of its own. Coffey writes, “If you’ve read this far, you probably like dogs — a lot. And you probably have a soft spot for older dogs who still have much love, loyalty, and laughter to give.”
In her own words, Coffey sums up why you need to read this book. Aside from the stories and the heartwarming rescues that change both canine and human lives, the photography is stunning. Lori Fusaro’s lens captures the love, gratitude, and essence of the canine soul in a way few others can.
She gives a plethora of resources for dog lovers who want to help but perhaps are not sure where to start. Even if you are unable to foster or adopt, there are still a bunch of ways to help older dogs. Check out this section for an action plan.
Win an Autographed Copy of My Old Dog by Laura T. Coffey
CONTEST IS CLOSED AND CONGRATS TO NANCY HEIGHT, THE WINNER! THANKS TO ALL WHO ENTERED.
Enter to win an autographed copy by posting the name of a dog who has touched your heart in the comments below.
One lucky winner will be drawn at random, USA/Canada, over 18 years of age. We will ship the prize direct to you. Entries close 03/18/16 at 11:59 pm EST.
Here’s to old dogs, long may they live and inspire us to be better human beings. Age is nothing but a state of mind, and the feeling of self-gratification that comes with adopting a senior dog is worth a lifetime of wags.
About Laura T. Coffey: Laura T. Coffey is a longtime writer, editor and producer for TODAY.com and author of the bestselling book “MY OLD DOG: Rescued Pets with Remarkable Second Acts.” You can find a collection of her recent work here. Learn more about her book at www.MyOldDogBook.com.
Note: We were not compensated for this review; Fidose of Reality shares products and reviews we believe would be of interest to our dog-loving readers.