A new edition has graced Jacks Galore’s sanctuary this cold wintry month of January, with the addition of a 17 ½ year old jack name Junior. A move to the West Coast, a family member unable to take him, and the inability to let him go, brought Junior to us to nurture for what now seems only to be a limited amount of time. After a vet visit with our Dr. Ray it was deemed that Junior has prostate cancer, and so his time is bound to be short.
A recent injury to his eye, now blind, makes his other aging eye work harder, yet he still finds it possible to use the dog doors to join the others to play on the property and chase the critters in the woods, although he finds the need to find his human after only a short period of time and comes desperately running back to make sure we are still here. He loves to sleep next to a shoulder in bed, and does not mind being one of the sanctuary pack dutifully going into his crate at feeding time to devour the whole bowl of special dietary food. With some physical ailments appearing in the last few days, we will give him unconditional love till it’s time to hold him as he crosses the bridge to join the other JG jacks who have gone before.
Unfortunately in rescue there are many seniors in need of homes. It appears that it’s always easy to move on and leave the aging jacks behind; with a move, with a divorce, when the children are no longer home, or show no interest anymore in the family dog. When health issues arise, with the high cost of vetting for the elderly, the dog is brought to the shelter or into rescue; leaving the responsibility and the most difficult decisions to those willing to take them in.
Jacks Galore is always welcoming of the aging jacks whenever possible, be it from the loss of their family or their declining health which makes them impossible to rehome. Seniors are truly a morale booster in many ways, the fact that they need you the most because they have not much time left, is always gratifying to know that you can show them that they will be loved by you until the very end. They will not die on a cold floor in a shelter, be shuffled from home to home, or sit longingly looking through the chain door of a kennel only to be passed by for something younger and healthier and to be put to sleep by someone who has no connection to his life.
I always like to think that the older ones that come in, allows me to love more of them and have more souls pass through my life. I find the older dogs are grateful for the gentle stroke of a hand, the warm placement of your cheek on their face, and a soft whisper in their ears telling them that all will be fine. It’s never easy in the end to hold them while they take their last breath, or to know there’s nothing else you can do to give then back the bounce in their step or the wagging of their tail, but we will have shown kindness and love, and there is nothing more profound for an animal in his final hours.
Please consider adopting a senior, and yes maybe only having them for a short period of time, and probably shedding tears more often than most. But what you will have given back is truly the result of courage and devotion to an animal that needs it most. That is rescue, that is what we do.