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The Specials: Adopting A Senior Dog

As animal lovers, we love and cherish ALL our pets. But certain dogs (and cats) change us – they get under our skin, running through our veins and hearts, and our spirits are forever bound. Heart dogs enter our lives in unexpected and wonderful ways. Our time together is often brief, but the collective impact of our love is mighty and great. They shape our lives and lead us to places we never could have imagined. Sometimes they don’t make it very far and we must continue on alone. But they live on in our hearts and we see the world differently, more vividly and clearly because of the bond we shared. Corbin was Jen’s heart dog.

Adopting a senior dog

Corbin had already been adopted and returned twice when Jenn and Adam brought him home as a foster dog. Prior to Corbin, Jenn knew very little about Pit bulls other than what was portrayed in the media, and admits she was hesitant. But he quickly won her over with his charm and snuggles and two months after bringing him home, they officially adopted him.

Corbin wasn’t always an easy dog. He had some ongoing health issues and a month after adoption, showed some signs of being overly protective and slightly aggressive. Jenn immediately hired a trainer who worked with them in their home providing the tools and guidance they needed to help Corbin reach his true potential as a well-mannered dog. Corbin later went on to pass Canine Good Citizen test. Jenn documented their journey together through her blog.

Corbin the rescued pitbull explains why you should adopt a senior dog

Sadly, Corbin passed unexpectedly in June 2015 just over six years after he arrived. Their time together was all too brief, but through their bond, they opened hearts and changed public perception of Pit bulls and rescue dogs in general. Additionally, they also fostered and re-homed over forty other dogs – many of them pit and pit mixes.

One of the dogs they rescued and saved together is Diamond. Jenn discovered Diamond by accident on a Facebook post. She was an abandoned, senior Pit mix on the euthanasia list at a New York City shelter. Although she wasn’t looking for another foster dog, there was something in Diamond’s eyes that pushed her into action. She contacted The Mr. Moe Project, an organization that fights to save senior dogs in shelters nationwide. After speaking with Chris Hughs, the co-founder, the wheels were in motion and Diamond was transferred directly to a veterinarian for emergency medical care.

Diamond, the rescued senior pit, before and after and why adopting a senior dog

Diamond was in rough shape. She was suffering from malnutrition, mange, kennel cough as well as ear and eye infections. But in spite of her fragile condition, Diamond immediately wrapped her paws lovingly around Jenn’s waist and she knew she was making the right decision.

Once Diamond was strong enough to leave the hospital, Jenn brought her home as a foster dog through The Mr. Moe Project. They soon realized that in addition to allergies and a host of other medical issues, she was also deaf. A few months later, she underwent surgery to remove four mammary masses. Although Diamond wasn’t initially fond of Corbin, he remained at her side during her recovery. After she healed, their relationship changed from fear to love.

Rescuing and adopting a senior dog

After Corbin passed away, Jenn and Adam decided Diamond would stay with them forever. To see her blossom from a beaten-down, throw-away dog to a trusting, loving family member has been truly inspiring, Jenn says. “I have learned something from every dog who has passed through my life and Diamond has taught me about the need and importance of senior dog rescue.”

In addition to Diamond, Jenn and Adam share their home with another rescued pit named Amelia as well as two other Mr. Moe Project foster dogs, Emily and Eddie. I know Corbin would be so proud!

Diamond is part of The Specials, an award-winning blog series focusing on special needs pet adoption. Senior pets, those with chronic medical issues, behavioral or temperament concerns as well as overlooked or misunderstood breeds like Pits and black cats. If not for the courage and compassion of their adopters, many of these animals might have been euthanized in shelters or died alone and hungry on the streets. You can read more special needs adoption posts here.

 

38 Comments

  1. Gattina
    January 18, 2016 / 7:30 am

    That would be especially good for elderly people ! I don't believe that a dog is aggressive and bad unless he has a brain damage. It's the owners who makes them bad.

  2. sprinkles
    January 18, 2016 / 7:32 am

    I follow Corbin's blog and facebook page. Somehow I missed that Diamond was deaf though. Jenn is a true hero.

  3. Bouncing Bertie
    January 18, 2016 / 7:43 am

    Jenn is indeed a hero to show such compassion and love to dogs often thought of as too difficult. We need more Jenns (and Adams). Toodle pip!Bertie.

  4. Marie Symeou
    January 18, 2016 / 8:54 am

    Wonderful post! Purrs xxAthena and Marie

  5. Marie Symeou
    January 18, 2016 / 8:54 am

    Wonderful post! Purrs xxAthena and Marie

  6. Mitch and Molly
    January 18, 2016 / 10:08 am

    Fabulous post! We loved Corbin and Miss Jenn is a wonderful hooman♥

  7. Mark Muller
    January 18, 2016 / 12:24 pm

    I wish this world had much much more such fabulous people like Corbin and Jenn…. what a wonderful post, many thanks, it touched my heart … hugs to all who help to make this cold world a little warmer…

  8. Reilly-Denny Cowspotdogs
    January 18, 2016 / 12:32 pm

    Jenn and Corbin had such a special story and we loved following their blog

  9. The Menagerie Mom
    January 18, 2016 / 12:44 pm

    What a wonderful story you've told here. I have such a fondness for senior animals, and much respect for those who adopt them. I'll never get tired of reading these The Specials posts. Thank you for doing this wonderful series!

  10. Shannon Adams
    January 18, 2016 / 1:10 pm

    Oh no, I didn't realize Corbin passed. 🙁 I'm so glad that Diamond gets to stay with them. People who rescue elderly, abused or "issue"-laden dogs are very special people. <3

  11. Sandra
    January 18, 2016 / 2:19 pm

    I cried all the way through this post. such a wonderful happy/sad story. All 4 of our dogs have been rescues and God bless all who rescue senior dogs..

  12. Sweet William The Scot
    January 18, 2016 / 2:50 pm

    The eyes of these three dogs says it all. Just love me and I will be your best friend. We love this series you are doing.Thanks for being a friendSweet William The Scot

  13. Frankie Furter and Ernie
    January 18, 2016 / 3:31 pm

    CORBIN…. OH HOW WE REMEMBER CORBIN…. He was Wonderful and we LOVED him Dearly…

  14. Madi and Mom
    January 18, 2016 / 3:51 pm

    Oh meeeee can you hear the clapping, sniffling of joy here. Had it not been for Corbin's beautiful spirit there would be no story today..So we say to Angel Corbin…well done gentle boy…run with the sun we know you are smiling over Jenn and Adam.thank you for this beautiful story you have for sure found you niche….Hugs cecilia and Madi

    • Corbin
      January 19, 2016 / 3:57 pm

      This comment makes me cry every time I read it. Thank you, Cecilia!

  15. Talent Hounds
    January 18, 2016 / 4:21 pm

    This is such a great story. So sad how often these amazing dogs get over looked when people are adopting a new dog.

  16. jen
    January 18, 2016 / 5:04 pm

    This one got me. Jenn has such a ginormous heart and I've always enjoyed reading about the dogs that they foster. Corbin always made me smile and he still does because Jenn keeps his story and memory alive!

  17. Two French Bulldogs
    January 18, 2016 / 5:40 pm

    we hope more peoples adopt seniors too!Snorts,Lily & Edward

  18. Bailey
    January 18, 2016 / 5:49 pm

    Great post. There are lots of senior pets who don't fall into the special needs category, too there big issue is age.One thing I will say is while many of these stories break your heart one of the reasons so many of these dogs get returned is that people act with heart and not head. You need to have compassion and the resources and abilities to deal with the issues you are taking on to manage the challenges. It isn't heartless to say I can do X but Y is beyond my abilities to manage. It's fair to the dog and to yourself. It if far more cruel to lie and say sure we can take this dog only to realize no you can't.

  19. Sketching with Dogs
    January 18, 2016 / 6:07 pm

    What a wonderful happy ending to poor Diamond's sad life. You can see the transformation not only in her skin but the miserable worried look in her eyes to the happy sparkle she has now.I hope more people consider a senior dog who nobody wants when they decide to adopt.Lynne x

  20. Murphy
    January 18, 2016 / 6:16 pm

    We just love these successful stories!Keep Calm & Bark On!Murphy & Stanley

  21. Marg
    January 18, 2016 / 7:54 pm

    That is a great story and thanks to Jenn for saving all those dogs. What a great thing to do. We know thee dogs appreciated it. We sure appreciate all that she has done.

  22. Austin Towers
    January 18, 2016 / 8:41 pm

    We think people like Jenn are truly wonderful people to do what they do!! Seniors both cats and dogs make great pets!

  23. Foley Monster, Pocket and River Song
    January 18, 2016 / 8:45 pm

    I think this is a situation where both humans and dogs saved one another

  24. Bella Roxy & Macdui
    January 18, 2016 / 9:00 pm

    We miss Corbin…such a character. We know how wonderful his family is, to help dogs find new homes and educate people about pitbulls.

  25. Idaho PugRanch
    January 18, 2016 / 10:29 pm

    Another wonderful story. Corbin is missed, but it is wonderful his family carries on saving liveshugsMr Bailey, Hazel & mabel

  26. Tweedles -- that's me
    January 18, 2016 / 10:39 pm

    No pets should be throw aways! No their not garbage! And were happy when every furry gets a forever home!lovetweedles

  27. Hailey and Zaphod and their Lady
    January 19, 2016 / 12:49 am

    Another beautiful story. (I can't read these at work as they make me cry!)

  28. The Island Cats
    January 19, 2016 / 2:15 am

    Thank cod for humans like Jenn.

  29. M. K. Clinton
    January 19, 2016 / 3:07 am

    Thank yo for another touching story about how love can heal a dog's broken heart and spirit. Simply beautiful. ♥

  30. Ziggy Stardust
    January 19, 2016 / 5:56 am

    What a great story and I know it will make people think. No matter how old we are we still need love.Ziggy out!!

  31. Jeanne Pursell
    January 19, 2016 / 11:05 am

    Seniors can make the BEST pets!! Thanks for the birthday wishes!!

  32. tubby3pug
    January 19, 2016 / 3:20 pm

    such lovely dogs. we have been getting younger dogs now but adopted several seniors in the past they are great

  33. KB Bear
    January 20, 2016 / 2:53 am

    Inspirational… Jenn, Adam, and Corbin forged the way together. They, including Corbin, are still teaching us all. We adopted a 10 yr old yellow lab years ago, and we'll do it again when the time is right.

  34. FiveSibesMom
    January 20, 2016 / 4:37 am

    Fabulous post! And beautiful dogs…what a great message to get out there. Love our senior dogs!

  35. Tenacious Little Terrier
    January 22, 2016 / 12:32 am

    We're not really in a place to adopt senior pets but I think I'd like to foster them in the future. Love the series!

  36. Steven Duke
    March 23, 2016 / 10:11 pm

    Lovely post. We reluctantly adopted our first bully breed from the local dog pound about 17 years ago, and it changed our lives (hers, too). Our previous dogs had all been small, scruffy terrier mixes, and that's what we were looking for when we visited a number of area dog pounds and shelters. But the local city dog pound volunteers recognized our experience training dogs and brought out a young pit (probably full-bred American Staffordshire) who had had a troubled life. We initially said no, but she touched our hearts and we went back and adopted her. The first year was difficult, but she turned into the warmest, funniest, most enjoyable dog I've ever had. Ten years after we adopted her, she died of cancer. We went right back to same shelter and adopted another pit mix (probably Boxer/pit combination). If anything, she is even sweeter than the first one. Pitties rule!

  37. Lori Hilliard
    January 8, 2017 / 2:39 am

    My own rescue dog I got as a puppy 17 years ago. My husband and I know that he is reaching the end of his life; he has heart disease, a mass of benign tumors and is 90% deaf. We have already discussed the fact that we are at the point in our lives where senior adoption has a great deal of appeal. Reading about senior dogs who are turned in after years in a home breaks my heart. Bringing them 'home' with us for their final days will be our mission from here on out. No one – including a dog – should die alone or unloved.

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