Usually when you adopt an older dog you don’t know their exact age or birthday. But we know Petey’s birthday and he will soon be thirteen years old.
While that may be quite senior for most dogs, for his tiny breed he seems to be doing quite well. Yes he is profoundly deaf and has double cataracts. And yes he has no teeth and a deformed lower jaw.
But his knees and hips are strong and as long as he avoids slippery floors, we don’t anticipate any problems there.
And most importantly, his temperament and personality are stellar.
He is the perfect therapy dog. He is calm, loving, always in the mood to meet new people and happy to just “be.”
Today we went to one of our favorite assignments and worked in two very distinct areas. First we visited people in a hospital waiting room. Everyone was just thrilled to see the little dog come into the room. Perhaps they had been there quite a while and were anxiously awaiting word about their loved one. But when they saw Petey big smiles popped out. About ten people all came over to meet him and hear his story and learn about the work he does.
That first half hour was fabulous fun for Petey and because the room is carpeted, he showed everyone how he can still walk around and still has a pep in his step!
Then as he was starting to tire out a bit, we took a quick potty break and then went up to our regular assignment. This population is very different from a waiting room environment. Petey is the perfect dog there as he is content to just sit on a lap or be cuddled and whispered to. He is happy if no one wants to pet him or pay attention to him. He understands the more somber mood and is just a sweet distraction from whatever else is going on in their mind.
And especially in this type of environment working with a very challenging population, the staff just love to see the therapy dogs as well. We always start with Petey making the rounds of staff as they need that break as well.
So please don’t overlook the senior dogs. When I adopted Petey he was almost eleven years old and now has almost two years of therapy work under his belt and we see no reason why he won’t pass his renewal evaluation this year and continue doing what he loves most.
Happy Birthday Sweet Boy!