Happy Tail: An older dog gets a new start

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It’s the dogs’ dinnertime at Amy and Shaun Jones’s in Seattle. Seven-year-old Fudgems, whom the couple has had since she was a puppy, wants her food now, so she barks at 10-year-old Samson, encouraging him to bark, while she warbles encouragement.

Samson (top) and Fudgems nap together.

Samson (top) and Fudgems nap together.

He’s a vocal dog, and barks when he’s excited, which is often. “He’s excited that we’re home, excited that he’s going somewhere, excited that we got somewhere, excited that he’s getting treats, excited that there’s another dog around…you name it and he’s generally pretty enthused about it,” Amy says.

The couple adopted Samson a year or so ago from Italian Greyhound Rescue Northwest, which lists its adoptable pets on Petfinder. It came down to a choice between a puppy or Samson. Of course, as Amy puts it, “everyone wants the adorable puppy,” but the couple worried that Samson would be overlooked because of his age.

His story touched their hearts as well. He had lived with one person for eight years, but when illness forced the person to give him up, “he bounced around to at least four different foster homes before he ended up with us,” Amy says. “When we finally got to meet him, he was so happy and affectionate that I was grinning ear to ear,” she says. That clinched it; they adopted him.

An older dog brings old habits with him, so there was a period of adjustment. It took patience to overcome Samson’s insecurity. “We remind him regularly how much we love him with lots of spontaneous snuggles and belly rubs!” Amy says. “We’ve watched him grow so much in the time that we’ve had him, which is an amazing feat for a dog his age. He has truly become part of the family.”

For now, being part of the family means demanding some dinner, and it works. Dinner is served.