Why did you decide to rescue?
My fiance and I have been talking about adopting a dog for a few months now. We both grew up with dogs that were adopted from shelters or from rescue programs, so we always knew we would adopt rather than buy a puppy. We actually expected to wait until spring to adopt a dog. We're both graduate students and work long hours, so we weren't sure if we were ready to be good pet owners yet. However, two Fridays ago we got a flyer in the mail about the senior dog adoption event in the park near our apartment, and we realized that adopting a senior dog would be perfect. I know some people see adopting a rescue senior dog as more trouble than it's worth. But younger dogs have much more energy that they need to expend, while older dogs spend more time sleeping and aren't as likely to get into trouble around the house when left alone at home. So even though the adoption event was the next day when we got the flyer, we decided now was the time! We woke up Saturday morning determined to find a dog to adopt that day.
Please tell us your story with rescuing.
The adoption event had about 100 senior dogs from multiple shelters in Los Angeles. The event was happy and sad wrapped all into one. We spent hours there getting to know all the wonderful, sweet dogs. The hardest part was picking only one and knowing that not every dog would go to a new home that night. I briefly cried at one point because we had narrowed it down to a couple dogs, and it broke my heart to choose. Kurbis made the decision easy though.
What makes your rescue animal so amazing and unique?
I've always been inclined towards dogs that are seen as "less adoptable," and so we were looking to adopt a pitbull, given the misconceptions about them. Kurbis embodies the fact that pitbulls are actually sweet dogs, and not aggressive. Upon meeting us he immediately started licking our faces. At one point, one of the other dogs even snapped at him, and rather than snapping back, he just kept trotting along on our "test walk." Kurbis is just so happy to be living indoors with a new "pack." He spends most of his time on his back, and no matter how long you rub his belly (seriously, it could be for an hour), the second you stop he looks up at you like "why did you stop?".
What was your biggest fear with rescuing and how did this fear play out once all was said and done?
That the first time we left him home alone he would think he had been abandoned. Until the past couple days, I'd spent every day with him since the adoption, either working from home, bringing him to my office on campus, etc. Eventually we'll leave him at home more, but we just want him to gain trust and security first. The first separation was for only 1.5 hours, but when I returned Kurbis nearly knocked me over he was so excited to see me. I had no idea this 9 year old dog had that much energy left in him. I think it's clear that he's going to struggle with separation anxiety, and so we're developing a plan for gradually increasing separation time.
Would you rescue again?
Absolutely! We can hardly wait to get Kurbis a buddy with which to play and stay at home. We will prioritize letting him get fully settled first though.
What would you say the most positive part of rescuing is?
Witnessing a dog's amazing ability to re-learn. Kurbis seems to have had a tough past, but somehow he loves every new person he meets. Since having him we've discovered that a past owner filed down his teeth and we keep finding new scars (on his body, in his mouth, pieces missing from his ears). It is upsetting to imagine what his past life was like, but we are so happy to be giving him comfort and joy in his final years! He's already bringing so much happiness to us and everyone who has met him!
What would you like everyone to know about this topic?
Senior dogs are worth adopting. They are MORE than worth it. I think people focus so much on the downsides of senior dogs - potentially expensive medical bills, not enough years together, inconvenience due to their physical difficulties. It's true that because Kurbis is a senior, there are some added difficulties. He has a hard time with stairs (so we usually carry him - which will be harder once he hits his target weight!) and his vision seems to declining. However, people forget to consider the unique benefits of senior dogs. A lot of bad habits that younger dogs have - chewing things, jumping on people, jumping up to on counters, barking at everything - older dogs are just more mellow and don't really engage in these behaviors as much. But they still have just as much love to give!
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