One-way streets.

Life is not a rehearsal.

Jean and I can’t imagine being the age that we are and living on our own. Yet, realistically, the time will come when either Jean or me will be the surviving spouse. Not something that we want to think about. But when it does come to that point, it would be a million times worse if being left alone meant losing one’s partner and being utterly alone; as in no animals around the house. For both Jean and me having a dog or two in our lives at that stage will make it easier to cope.

No better highlighted than a recent article over on Mother Nature Network. That article is republished for you good people.

ooOOoo

Senior dogs and veterans are better together

One Last Treat pairs them up with beautiful results.

Mary Jo DiLonardo

March 20, 2017
Greg Brabaw and Pops enjoy a sunny moment together. (Photo: Mike Walzak/One Last Treat)

A longtime Marine in Vietnam, Detroit veteran Greg Brabaw was living at home with no family and few friends when someone reached out to the One Last Treat organization on his behalf. They thought Brabaw might be a good candidate for the group’s program pairing vets with senior dogs looking for homes. Soon, the grizzled Brabaw met Pops, a little Chihuahua.

“Greg was really all alone. When we brought him Pops, he basically opened up to us and told us how much Pops allowed him to think about something other than his own suffering” says Joel Rockey, the founder of One Last Treat. “They are pretty much best friends now.”

The nonprofit, which got started in the summer of 2016, hunts for senior dogs looking to live out the rest of their lives with love and attention. A special program under the group’s umbrella, called Vet Friend Till the End, finds the dogs homes with veterans and then pays all the pets’ health bills.

Rockey came up with the idea not long after spending five years in the Navy in Iraq and Afghanistan and returning home. He wanted to focus his energy on something he felt passionate about, and he happened upon an old pug in a snowstorm. The dog was blind, deaf and injured, but Rockey took him home and named him Lurch.

“He only lived for three more months, but we gave him a pretty awesome three more months,” Rockey says. “I felt really compelled to gear my energy towards animals and how to make their lives better. I liked being there in their last moments, so I called my vet buddies and they were down with the idea.”

Homes instead of treats

Veteran Dave Kidder recently adopted his new pal, Peggy Sue. (Photo: One Last Treat)

Originally, the team planned to bring treats to senior dogs that were about to be euthanized in animal shelters. But shelters didn’t want to call attention to the last hours of those dogs, so they had to formulate a new game plan.

Now they find senior dogs and get them first into foster homes, and then into adoptive homes. In the nine or so months the group has existed, they’ve found homes for about 25 dogs. Many are adopted by everyday people; some are adopted by veterans. If a veteran adopts a dog from their organization or another rescue, they’ll pay the veterinarian bills for the rest of the dog’s life. The majority of dogs have come from the Detroit area, but the group has pulled dogs out of shelters when they’ve been in California and have veteran/dog “teams” coming on board in Ohio, Missouri and California.

“We try to pull animals that will be good companion animals … relaxed and laid-back and not too much going on healthwise,” Rockey says. “Maybe they’re starting to go downhill a little bit but not knocking on the door.” That way the dogs might be with their adopters for at least a few years, he says.

There are currently working with seven dog/veteran teams. Supporters often donate to a specific team to help pay their bills.

Rockey’s own rescue dog, Bandit, is more than 16 years old. (Photo: One Last Treat)

Rockey says the benefits to the dogs is obvious; they get homes instead of being overlooked. But the benefit to the veterans is unmeasurable.

“The biggest thing is self importance. As a vet myself, I think veterans, when they get out of the military, aren’t asked to do anything anymore,” Rockey says. “They start losing self importance. Everyone is thanking them, but they’re not being asked to do anything. When they’re taking care of a senior animal, they’re needed and it creates a new sense of value in their life.”

ooOOoo

Do drop into the website for that organisation One Last Treat and sign up for their newsletter. It strikes me as a great cause.

14 thoughts on “One-way streets.

  1. This warms my heart. I am so glad to know that this program is available. Older pets & older people should never be alone. It is mutually beneficial. Great share, Paul.

  2. We’ve got some dear, dear friends in New Mexico where we lived years ago. She’s walking around with an oxygen tank now due to heart issues, and was given x number of years to live, which she’s exceeded by far. But when she received the diagnosis, they decided to get a puppy to offset the loss of one of the pack – so that when she passed, he’d have comfort. Shadow came into their lives and proved a delight, but developed some serious hip problems at 5 years old, requiring expensive surgery. We all pitched in through a gofundme account and were able to get Shadow’s surgery. Long story short, she is now mobile, and they are still both alive, if not well. Dogs really do make the world go ’round for many of us!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s