Whether we need comfort, laughter, or a light in the dark, the right dog has a way of finding us at the right time. They help us forgive, feel compassion, experience joy, and sometimes heal our broken parts. I am a big believer in perfect fit moments when an animal enters our lives, often in unexpected ways, and changes everything.
Shasta was a perfect fit, once-in-a-lifetime, change everything, rewrite the story, and make the ending happy kind of dog.
Shasta is the first feature in our yearlong focus on adopting senior dogs. Throughout 2018, we will be sharing one happily-ever-after senior adoption story per month. Each post will be full of feel-good inspiration, bucket lists, and second chances.
Adopting Senior Dogs: Finding the Right Dog at the Right Time
Denise and Denton lost their dog Harley in April 2013. Six months later they suffered a miscarriage at seven weeks, marking a heartbreaking end to their second attempt at in vitro fertilization.
About a week later, Denise found Shasta, named Stan at the time, on adoptapet.com. Looking back, she says there was just something about his eyes – part street scrapper, part old soul – that drew her in.
Shasta, a Yorkie-Schnauzer mix was found wandering the streets alone in Stockton, CA. He was in rough shape, hungry, dehydrated yet still spirited. Denise says he was a scrapper at heart, determined, resilient, and always good at figuring things out. Clearly, his natural spunk and smarts helped him survive life on the streets.
Denise and Denton adopted Shasta on November 9, 2013, a day after Denise’s 40th birthday. The rescue group aged him at six or seven, but based on his teeth and other health issues, their vet believed he was closer to ten or twelve. In addition to finding a forever home, Shasta also received lifesaving care for a variety of health issues including Cushing’s Disease, arthritis, and allergies (his senior years would have been painful on the street or in a shelter).
No one knows where Shasta came from, what his life was like prior to rescue, or how he found himself wandering the streets alone. Like most dogs, Shasta naturally lived in the now and forgave the past.
Sadly, Shasta passed away in July 2017. Their time together was brief, but packed with adventure, perfect fit moments, and over-the-moon fun. Whether Denise and Denton rescued Shasta or Shasta rescued them, doesn’t much matter – they were clearly meant to find and heal each other. Here are ten of their very favorite Shasta memories.
Shasta’s California Dreamin’ Senior Dog Bucket List
1. Backpacking (AKA shoulder-riding) in Sequoia National Forrest.
2. Snowshoeing at Royal Gorge Soda Springs.
3. Learning to play nicely with others. From reactive dog to loyal friend to other canines in the family.
4. Paddle-boarding and kayaking at Lake Oroville, CA. Always a good sport, even though he wasn’t crazy about water.
5. Becoming a certified therapy dog. All dogs are therapy dogs, but Shasta actually took a class!
6. Beach time. Living the California dream and then some.
7. Attending not one, but three BlogPaws conferences in Nashville, Phoenix, and Myrtle Beach. Socializing with celebrity canines from around the digital world.
8. Driving cross country from northern California to Myrtle Beach with stops at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary and Noah’s Ark in Kentucky.
9. Serving as blog muse for Shasta’s Yorkie Yap and picking up where Harley left off.
10. Providing Denise and Denton with 3.5 years of comfort, support, and smiles when they needed it most. Because dogs.
From throwaway dog to a much loved, world-traveling, social media star and adventure dog. None of these things would have been possible had Shasta not been rescued and adopted. There are thousands of amazing midlife and senior dogs like Shasta in shelters RIGHT NOW with a whole lot of life and love left to share.
2018 Year of the Senior Dog: How Can You Help
What can you do to help senior dogs and cats? Adopt, foster, volunteer and donate (AFVD). If you have adopted or fostered a senior dog, please share your story to help inspire others!
While sharing a long life with an animal is a wonderful thing, adopting a senior dog (or cat) that may never have known kindness or love is just as amazing. Please help make another senior dog’s happily-ever-after bucket list come true!