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November Is National Adopt a Senior Pet Month

Thank you to writer Pat Bettendorf  for contributing this guest blog post on his family’s most recent experience adopting a senior dog. This post clearly shows the rewards!

senior pit bull dogAxel was picked up earlier this year wandering the streets of Lebanon, Kentucky. A 12-year-old senior citizen, the old boy had many health issues, and life on the run hadn’t been kind to him.

Pus oozed from his eyes and ears. His fur was falling out, and the bottom of his feet were raw and bleeding.

He had painful arthritis and open sores on his legs, and his hearing and eyesight diminished. Several teeth needed extraction. I think many shelters would have put him to sleep to end his misery. But someone must have seen a certain spark in the old dog that needed to be saved.

From Foster . . .

A rescue group from Minnesota picked up Axel and brought him home, where he was cared for by several well-intended foster homes which were ill-equipped to properly care for him. Axel has a bad case of allergies, which probably accounts for several of his problems.

When Axel arrived in our home, he was still in tough shape. He hadn’t received his meds or medicated baths in a while. He was starting to shut down – he was withdrawn, wanting to mostly sleep. As my wife Lynn said,

“He had the flattest personality of any dog I’ve seen.”

But, still . . . there was that spark. Something special in his eyes. He was a kind, gentle old soul.  With all that I have observed, I think once upon a time Axel had a happy home, but something went very wrong. Oh, how I wish he could talk and tell us his story!

. . . to Adoption

tribe of rescuesIn short order, we filed adoption forms and slowly integrated him into our tribe of five other rescue dogs. We knew he needed lots of medical attention and immediately started to take him to the vet for tests and medications.

Axel’s feet are somewhat better, but still raw and painful. His ears and eyes are much improved, but require constant attention. And he still gets sores on his legs and the top of his feet. Patches of bare spots persist, with his tail being the barest of all.

Axel is on many medications and supplements and sees the vet often, but needs to see a specialist for his skin/feet/allergies. He still needs those teeth to be pulled. We don’t regret for a minute adopting Axel, but his vet bills are crushing, and we have two other “Tribe” members that require medical help.

Ah, Romance!

But there is a wonderful upside in all of this. Axel has blended into our home and family as if to the manor born! He picked up the rhythm of life around here incredibly fast, and while he is a major-league couch potato, Axel is indeed, kind, gentle, engaged, content, happy . . .

senior dogs in love
. . . and in love!

He and Ruby, a 13-year-old handicapped member of our “Tribe,” are an adorable couple for the ages.

Always together, they must be touching, always touching, whether it’s laying side by side, a head draped over the other, or simply touching paws.

senior dog affection

And when Axel does take a nap somewhere else in the house, Ruby, who can’t walk when she’s not in her Walkin’ Wheels, will crawl to his side.

Then she begins what has become a ritual — her gentle cleaning of the sores on his face and paws.

Axel doesn’t just tolerate it, he patiently closes his eyes and soon drifts off to sleep.

Happy Ending

Axel has discovered the joys of a gentle touch, toys, safety, a comfy place to sleep, a full tummy, and even on occasion, playtime with one of the girls when he is feeling well enough. It’s been an incredibly rewarding experience. We just need to get him that additional medical help to get this dear boy on the road to real recovery. He’s almost there!

If you want to help Pat and his family with the veterinarian bills for Axel, you can make a payment directly to Axel’s vet (they accept PayPal or credit card, but do not accept checks). Just call and tell them you want to help “Axel Bettendorf:” Pet Central | 2700 Central Ave. NE | Minneapolis, MN 55418 | (612) 781-6941

Postscript: Walkin’ Pets is sad to report that beloved Ruby passed away on November 26, 2016. May she enjoy her new life over the Rainbow Bridge.

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  1. this is wonderful, poor, sweet old boy. I adopted my own senior pittie Maxx at 13 – had three wonderful years with him. He came to me in much the same condition as your Axel – raw, bleeding paws, open sores, the THS had extracted his teeth (quite a lot of them), he had terrible allergies which left his skin oozing and sore, and like your boy, had shut down. His little whippy tail was clamped tight between his legs and he had zero interest in interaction. A raw diet, adapted for his few teeth left, medicated baths, a few other homeopathic remedies, and LOTS of loves and attention. Six months later, a different dog and for the balance of his 3.5 years with us, he was cossetted, loved and spoiled.

  2. Thank all who open their hearts and homes to these neglected and unloved souls. We have five rescues…all have blended well to become our family. Let’s remember the blessings these lost souls bring into our lives…..and for those who just might have room for just one more….. may this be your Christmaster Wish …. that a lost, needy and loving senior be guided to your hearts.

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