By Maggie King
Love dogs? Consider loving a senior “pup.”
My Old Dog: Rescued Pets with Remarkable Second Acts is a beautiful collection of stories and photographs celebrating senior dogs, created by journalist Laura T. Coffey (author) and Lori Fusaro (photographer). I can’t improve on the Amazon description, so I won’t even try:
“No Dog Should Die Alone” was the attention-grabbing — and heart-stirring — headline of journalist Laura T. Coffey’s TODAY show website story about photographer Lori Fusaro’s work with senior shelter pets. While generally calm, easy, and already house-trained, these animals often represent the highest-risk population at shelters. With gorgeous, joyful photographs and sweet, funny, true tales of “old dogs learning new tricks,” Coffey and Fusaro show that adopting a senior can be even more rewarding than choosing a younger dog. You’ll meet endearing elders like Marnie, the irresistible shih tzu who has posed for selfies with Tina Fey, James Franco, and Betty White; Remy, a soulful nine-year-old dog adopted by elderly nuns; George Clooney’s cocker spaniel, Einstein; Susie, the funny little senior dog who got adopted by “Humans of New York” creator Brandon Stanton and “Susie’s Senior Dogs” founder Erin Stanton; and Bretagne, the last known surviving search dog from Ground Zero.
They may be slower moving and a tad less exuberant than puppies, but these pooches prove that adopting a senior brings immeasurable joy, earnest devotion, and unconditional love.
In 2012, Lori Fusaro, an advocate for homeless animals, volunteered with various Los Angeles animal shelters to photograph the dogs up for adoption. When the photos were uploaded to the shelter websites, they proved hugely successful at bringing people into the shelters. One day Lori met a depressed 16-year old female dog who had been surrendered for adoption. Lori knew the dog’s prospects were dim. A week later, she named the dog Sunny and brought her home. When Lori saw how Sunny perked up and found renewed life, it prompted her to write a blog post about Sunny and the wonderful dogs at the shelter.
The blog post caught the attention of Laura T. Coffey, a writer for the NBC Today website. Laura interviewed Lori and the article went viral. People across the country thanked Lori for informing them about senior dogs. Many shared their own stories of giving old pups a loving home. Lori appeared on NBC Nightly News and the Today Show. Ms. Coffey teamed up with Lori to publish a coffee table book. Their goal: to inspire people to think about adopting a senior animal. Laura and Lori traveled the country, meeting people and dogs.
And so My Old Dog: Rescued Pets with Remarkable Second Acts was born.
Sunny lived happily with Lori until the age of 18. Lori continues to be of service as staff photographer for the Best Friends Animal Society-Los Angeles.
Note: this post focuses on dogs, but I’m not forgetting the wonderful senior cats who need homes. Here are just a few reasons to adopt a senior dog and/or cat:
- You can be a hero
- Older dogs/cats are often already trained
- Seniors have fewer surprises
- Seniors are less demanding
- Old pups/kitties give instant companionship
- Old dogs/cats do learn new tricks (cats, too! really)
Here’s even more incentive: November is National Adopt a Senior Pet Month!
I first learned of the My Old Dog project from a Daily Word article written by Lori’s husband, Darrell Fusaro. Read “Doing What You Love Is Being of Service.”
Buy My Old Dog: Rescued Pets with Remarkable Second Acts
Read more about Lori and Laura and their work.
Read “There’s Life (and Love) in These Old Dogs Yet.”
Read about “Old Friends Senior Dog Sanctuary.”
Read “No Dog Should Die Alone.”
My Old Dog is on Twitter at @MyOldDogBook
Animal Rescue Site: feed and care for animals with a daily click
Cute dogs courtesy of clipartpanda.com
Maggie King is the author of the Hazel Rose Book Group mysteries, including Murder at the Book Group and Murder at the Moonshine Inn. Her short stories appear in Deadly Southern Charm, Virginia is for Mysteries (Vols. 1&2), and 50 Shades of Cabernet.
Maggie is a member of Sisters in Crime, James River Writers, and International Thriller Writers. She has worked as a software developer, retail sales manager, and customer service supervisor. Maggie graduated from Elizabeth Seton College and earned a B.S. degree in Business Administration from Rochester Institute of Technology. She has called New Jersey, Massachusetts, and California home. These days she lives in Richmond, Virginia with her husband, Glen, and cats, Morris and Olive. She enjoys reading, walking, movies, traveling, theatre, and museums.
Amazon author page: http://amzn.to/2Bj4uIL