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It’s hard to believe that just two weeks, three days and four hours ago, I said goodbye to a dog I had barely begun to get to know. It seems like only yesterday an old, crotchety pit bull mix known at the shelter as Pugsley weaseled his hobbling mannerisms and dislike of any dog he couldn’t domineer and push around stole our hearts.
In the ten short months that Gus called our home his, we learned many valuable lessons – like the patience and unconditional love and trust of a dog who hadn’t always had the good life which showed through on the many scars and healed old wounds on his old body. He allowed us to fall truly, madly and deeply in love with his aged soul with utter abandon and his passing three weeks after being diagnosed with lymphosarcoma knocked the wind out of our sails as if we had been blessed to hold him in our hearts for the thirteen odd years he had walked this earth.
Gus was a truly special dog. He was dignified, stubborn, tenacious and all bulldog even when his body began to fail him. He pressed on even on those days where he hurt so badly that even a heavy dose of pain medication couldn’t touch. He always wanted to be the good dog in our house. He strived to always be with us – as close as physically possible – at all times. He was a good dog – even when he was being horridly naughty.
Gus was the heart and soul of what a ‘pit bull’ should be. He loved children and adults of all walks of life. He had never known a stranger and was as polite as a gentleman when he was asked to be – even if he encountered a rude, ill-mannered creature in our daily walks of life. He will always be remembered for what he was and not what the cancer stole from us in those last three, short weeks as a member of our crew. That hole will always be there where he took a piece of our hearts and the hearts of those who knew and loved him with him across the Rainbow Bridge to wait for us and teach those lessons to those who waited along with him until we are able to join him.
There is never ‘goodbye’ in Gus’s world only ‘see you later’ because tomorrow was a new adventure and a new journey on a path that will lead to something amazing.
What turned out as a routine senior exam because Gus wasn’t feeling good has turned our life upside down for the last couple of weeks. Gus has lymphosarcoma. It isn’t slow moving and it is attacking his GI tract pretty nastily. Our vet didn’t have a whole lot of positive to say because of his age and susceptibility to succumbing if we opted to treat our beloved Elderbull with chemo. He said that the kindest option would be management and then helping him cross the bridge when the time came – which could be sooner or later.
How did we find out and confirm our worst fears? Blood work. We had taken him in because his belly was a bit bloated and he didn’t want to eat his meals and was having trouble controlling his bladder. The latter is a common problem in the older dogs but I didn’t want him ending up with issues because he had an accident while we were at work and soiled his blanket in his crate.
The results from his blood work weren’t promising. He has hyper calcemia. He is anemic. His thyroid levels were incredibly low. All of that combined with the added insult, he also had a Urinary Tract Infection – the one thing we worked to prevent with his accidents. The final blow was the lymphosarcoma attacking his GI tract and causing the bloating and unwillingness to eat.
Cancer. It should be a curse word. This vile, vile disease is something that takes far too many loved ones from this Earth and runs rampant through our hearts as they deal and cope with this internal Hell until it is time for them to leave us. We’ve been dealing with it. We’re making our buddy comfortable. We are letting him eat whatever makes him eat and keep strength up. He has been getting to sleep in bed or we’ve been sleeping in the dog beds with him. We have to keep him cool since he gets uncomfortably hot even though he loves to bake in the sun. Whatever it takes for however long he has left with us.
We started a bucket list of things to do with him before he crosses the bridge – a “like” campaign on his Facebook page, Gus the Elderbull, in an effort to create a functioning memory that helps other dogs in shelters and a place for owners of their own elderbulls to come and share their memories, going swimming for the first time with us, eating an Oreo cookie even though they aren’t good for him, spending all night cuddling with us.
It hasn’t been easy. I’ve cried more nights than I care to admit to. My husband has remained stoic but even he can’t hide the pain. We’re having to make a decision that no person wants to make. When is the right time? Are we being selfish by waiting? Is Gus happy? We’re told time and again we’ll know but in my heart, I don’t know. It’s scary. I never expected to lose this beautiful soul in such a short time after we adopted him from the shelter – which is currently at almost two months shy of his September 23rd Gotcha Day. It sucks and it’s something that I could wish on my worst enemy but we will work through it and we’ll make the best of whatever time we have left until Gus lets us know it’s time.
Princess is a very sweet girl who has been dealt a very crappy hand. She was originally brought into the shelter as a court case dog when her owner went to jail. Her house brother, Tank, was already adopted into a loving home which left her behind. Princess, however, has a few issues that she’s come in with that can likely be linked to previous care and ownership practices because of lack of training, socialization and rules in the home.
Princess is dog selective and can be nasty toward other dogs if given the opportunity to be. She also is incredibly agile and can get herself into a lot of trouble by being able to scale fencing with ease. She has been labeled RESCUE ONLY by the shelter because of her behavior concerns but it would be worth an experienced home’s time to check her out if they are willing and able to work through her behaviors because she is a very sweet dog even if she’s not keen on other dogs and small animals.
If you’re interested in adopting Princess, she is available for adoption through the River Rouge Animal Shelter which is located at 100 W. Pleasant Street, River Rouge, Michigan. You can contact the shelter by email at email@example.com or by phone at 313-205-1732.
What can I say about Puck except that he is absolutely amazing. He is the kind of dog that I would be proud to have as part of the Work-A-Bull pack. (Yes, folks, he’s one of those few that if I had the resources to work with another adult dog, I’d be bringing home!)
Puck is a younger dog about 1-2 years old. He has drive in spades for toys and never let my attention getting toys out of his sight without staring for more. He likes treats but it’s a moderate drive there since the B-A-L-L was far more important in his life. With these two drives, he would make an exceptional sport, search and rescue or detection prospect. He is more than willing to please the other end of the leash if you could please just share that reward!
Puck has not been tested with other dogs or cats so appropriate introductions or an experienced home would be best suited for him who would do slow and proper introductions. He handled being poked, prodded, pinched and pulled very easily but with his youthful exuberance may be too much for a younger child to handle without dedicated, slow introductions.
Overall, Puck is one of those once in a lifetime dogs out there that an avid dog sport person or active family really shouldn’t miss and he’s available right now at the shelter where no owner came to collect this beautiful boy!
If you’re interested in adopting Puck, he is available for adoption through the River Rouge Animal Shelter which is located at 100 W. Pleasant Street, River Rouge, Michigan. You can contact the shelter by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 313-205-1732.
If you had asked me two weeks ago if I had planned to add a new dog to the pack in the very near future I probably would have laughed. I had plans, yes, but they were weeks, months and even years in the future. I wasn’t in the thought process that the future and new dog were only a short time away or in the circumstance in which they happened to happen in.
When I first saw Gus (then Pugsley) and his photo on Facebook, my heart took a flying leap into my throat. Here was this sweet, old pit bull mix staring at me from the depths of my computer screen across the Internet. I cursed at the state he had arrived at the shelter in and wondered how this stately gentleman had ended up bitten to ribbons with sores and cuts all over his body even though I know the streets aren’t kind to any dog, especially an old guy with nubs for most of his teeth. This sweet guy and I would be seeing one another soon as there was no other option because he had landed himself at the very shelter I spend most of my time at. Just my luck, right?
It started off innocently enough. I offered to take this poor guy into the vet. I steeled myself against falling in love pretty successfully until he climbed into my lap as I sat on the floor of the exam room. That final tightening of the love noose came when he laid his greying head on my shoulder and let out a deep, relaxed sigh. I knew that it was the beginning of the end. He had to come home. My…no, our home would and must be his.
The rest of the week (since he came on with a black quick release collar) while he was on stray hold was pure agony. I waited to see if my sweet old man would be returned to his former home…but no one came and part of me was sad. Someone had to be missing him, right? I couldn’t dwell on it. He had served his mandatory seven day hold and was a stray no longer.
Officially available, I collected him from the shelter he had called home. Never again, I vowed, would he want or need for anything. His golden years will be full of love and care for as long as he is with us. He will be loved, cherished and spoiled utterly rotten. He will be able to call a place his forever home.
Happy Gotcha Day, Gus. Here is to many more years in the Work-A-Bull pack.
Lady came into the shelter as an owner surrender. Her previous owner was unable to take her with him when his life circumstances changed and looked to the good folks at the shelter to help find his little girl a home that was able to give her a forever home.
Lady is very sweet and very kind. She is gentle taking treats and very willing to learn. She shows promise as a potential dog sport dog (think obedience or agility here!). She’s shown no interest in the currently available kitty, Boots, and is gentle with other dogs. There’ve not had any kids to introduce her to but if her temperament with everything else she’s met holds true, there are no doubts she will do fine with them as well. Lady could, in theory, go into just about any home and is seeking that forever home right now with a family who will love and cherish her for many years to come.
If you’re interested in adopting Jewel, she is available for adoption through the River Rouge Animal Shelter which is located at 100 W. Pleasant Street, River Rouge, Michigan. You can contact the shelter by email at email@example.com or by phone at 313-205-1732.
Thor came into the River Rouge Animal Shelter with his good buddy Jewel via the officers of River Rouge. Unfortunately, Jewel and Thor had a habit of escaping their yard and their owner opted to not reclaim them and instead leave them to sit in the shelter.
Thor is an amazing guy. He absolutely loves ALL people and will attempt to leap into your arms to get more kisses if you aren’t doling out enough for his puppy-ish demands. He would make an excellent running buddy or a sport prospect (especially for weight pull!) as he has energy in spades. He does need some brush up on his manners but with some work, he’d be as good as gold.
Thor seems to get along with other dogs and isn’t too keen on kitties who run from him but with proper introductions could possibly get along with a dog-savvy cat over time. He is good with all people but would probably do best with kids over the age of ten years old because of his exuberance.
If you’re interested in adopting Thor, he is available for adoption through the River Rouge Animal Shelter which is located at 100 W. Pleasant Street, River Rouge, Michigan. You can contact the shelter by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 313-205-1732.
Sweet Delilah was brought to the shelter by a kind individual. She has definitely had a litter or two with her swollen and saggy teats but she’s got the kind and resilient spirit known well in the bully breeds. She’s incredibly playful and sweet. She would do well with a submissive male dog and prefers no kitties in her home.
She could potentially make a very good obedience or really any other sport prospect, however, as she shows very good focus and adoration toward the people who she walks with daily. She also has enough energy to keep up with a nice, active family who wouldn’t mind a dog who cuddled after a rousing game in the yard or a long walk.
If you’re interested in adopting Delilah, she is available for adoption through the River Rouge Animal Shelter which is located at 100 W. Pleasant Street, River Rouge, Michigan. You can contact the shelter by email at email@example.com or by phone at 313-205-1732.
Diego is a sweet and plucky puppy. He, unfortunately, didn’t seem to receive any major socialization prior to arriving at the shelter but that hasn’t seemed to affect him anyway. He is happy to meet new people, dogs and kitties. He is incredibly gentle and very biddable when asked to do simple tasks and he picks up on cues and commands very easily. He is very food motivated and would do well in just about any home – especially if he could be a snuggle bug, which seems to be his main goal in life when he shoves his beautiful face into your hands for attention.
If you’re interested in adopting Diego, he is available for adoption through the River Rouge Animal Shelter which is located at 100 W. Pleasant Street, River Rouge, Michigan. You can contact the shelter by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 313-205-1732.
Update – September 5th! Diego, now Rudy, was pulled by Adopt-A-Pup Rescue and is now available through them!
Romeo is an incredibly wonderful and sweet boy. He is very exuberant and would absolutely love an active family or a person looking for a new dog sport prospect that can put some time and effort into training and work. Romeo is absolutely perfect with all people but would probably do best with older children since he tends to get incredibly bouncy and forget his own strength. He isn’t a good candidate for a home with cats and would need introductions to a nice, polite female dog or an only dog home.
If you’re interested in adopting Romeo, he is available for adoption through the River Rouge Animal Shelter which is located at 100 W. Pleasant Street, River Rouge, Michigan. You can contact the shelter by email at email@example.com or by phone at 313-205-1732.