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Choosing to foster unwanted senior dog, Jenny and how she saved us

“There is just SOMETHING about Jenny that makes it impossible to truly describe her warmth, attitude towards life, and in general – her zest for EVERYTHING. I will try not to drag this out, but I am sure as the words start flowing it might be a bit long.

​​ Jenny is worth every letter, word, period, and comma. She just is.
We (Diamonds in the Ruff Animal Rescue) work closely with a shelter located near Long Island, which is where Jenny was sitting and languishing. Rumor has it that they know who her owners are. Many times she escaped, many times she was picked up, and many times they retrieved her. This last time after being notified, they said they were not coming for her.
So, there she sat.
Day in and day out, breaking down. Losing her zest for life. Finally came the time when Jenny’s number was called and transport was set to bring her here to us. For me, to foster her wasn’t even a thought. I wasn’t even a blip on the radar. I was merely coordinating.
We had three plans:1. I was the initial foster2. I was the back up plan…And then I received the call – ‘Do you have a plan D? Because A & B haven’t worked, and I am not thinking C will either…’
We didn’t.
All I had was a room reserved for decompression that happened to be empty. But I had also promised my husband I would not bring in any more fosters. We already had two at the time. Plus our own dogs. However, when in a pickle and faced with a challenge, I agreed if plan C didn’t work she could rest – temporarily – at our home.
During that time we would figure out what to do – surprise, not really – she never left!! She won our hearts over and has been making us laugh ever since! I truly didn’t know what we were in for. I thought… she’s a senior. How hard can this be? I should probably just eat those words with a dose of humility and WHAT WERE YOU THINKING as a side. She has proved to be everything BUT easy.

​​ In Jenny’s first few months with us, she had a tumor removed. I will never forget the vet’s office calling to see if we could get her early. In true typical Jenny fashion, she was singing the song of her people to anyone that would listen, and well, being disruptive. A good friend picked her up early for us, as I was still at work.
Jenny at one point tried to make a go with a forever family. She lasted two days on her trial run and they returned her. The cat and her weren’t having it. She was trying to get at the family’s chickens. And she just in general wasn’t a fit for them. They did love her and cried when returning her to us, but knew she wasn’t their fit. We willingly took her back.
Our first ‘WTF’ moment with her was when she shredded the couch in the decompression room. LITERALLY SHREDDED it. And we learned she was not housebroken. She also managed to jump on top of a washing machine and cause our washer to flood while it was running. Because she was pulling the discharge hose out. THREE times she did this before we figured out it was her. And that was only because she chewed and ate a leash that was folded up in a bin above the washer. In our minds, out of reach, but in her mind – Jenny the senior gymnast who will eventually get what she wants!
We took her to the vet and it was assumed the leash she ate would come out in shreds. They HIGHLY doubted it would cause a blockage. Fast forward three weeks and she was having surgery to have the leash removed. She didn’t chew it into pieces. She chewed and swallowed a huge piece of it. Her vet affectionately calls her his ‘Miracle Dog’. HE REALLY LOVES HER.
After the surgery, Jenny slowed down. The surgery and the healing process really took a lot out of her. But she still had her zest for life, love, and kisses. We walked, we played, we chased tennis balls. We swam, and we made videos for her – everything we could think of to advocate to find her a home.
Then, a couple of weeks ago the unimaginable happened. Jenny got really sick. Like, not eating and not even wanting to eat. And if she did eat, she couldn’t hold it down. I was terrified for our girl. I cried. A LOT. She continued to follow me around, but it was slow. And she was tired. You could see it in her eyes. My 3 year old is probably her favorite person. He couldn’t even perk her up. Friends came over and said their goodbyes. We spent hours in the yard with her under our tree in the breeze. Just petting her and snuggling her and trying to coax her to eat. A tech came over and checked on her. The vet’s office was prepared for her to arrive first thing Monday morning. She arrived and they took her quickly to the back. I was told they would call me if they needed anything.
I got the call later that there was a mass in her intestines. From there a lot was discussed – her quality of life if we did a surgery again, her will to live, her life in general. The mass wasn’t a foreign object, but it wasn’t recommended to do surgery. She’d already had a portion of her intestines removed from the previous surgery. Quality of life wasn’t guaranteed if we did the surgery. The best advice given to me – take her home. Give her love. LOTS OF IT. And make her last days amazing.
She still wouldn’t eat for me, not even the wet food they sent her home with. The next day, I went into work pretty much a mess assuming I was going to have to go home and make that call to the vet’s office. In between me leaving for work and me coming home I was told by the office to try and get her to eat. Her last meal had been days prior. I got home from work that day and my husband said, ‘I can’t let you call the vet. You have to see this.’ She was following my nephew and son around the yard with pep. She had pooped and she was chasing tennis balls.
We are now taking each day as it is. One day at a time. One smile at a time. And one kiss at a time.
Jenny is like the wind – furious and full of vinegar and tart at times. Other times, calm and unwavering. I deal with anxiety, but yet every day, I look forward to whatever adventure her and I will have. Whether it’s a simple walk or a crazy afternoon of adventures and fishing and barking at strangers to come love on her. She pulls me out of that funk. She forces me to embrace whatever adventure awaits us.
We took a walk tonight. I started out on our usual path. She was like, ‘Nah screw that. Let’s go this way.’ And that’s what we did. And IT WAS AMAZING. She makes friends wherever she goes. You can’t help but smile when she meets you and you can’t help but laugh when she greets you and does everything in her power to lick you. She LOVES people. LOVES THEM. Even with everything that has been handed to her. She has this way to forgive. To move forward. To embrace everything that is offered to her.
If there was ever a dog that is an advocate for dogs in general – it would be her. If there was ever a dog that was an advocate for her breed – it would be her. IF THERE WAS EVER A DOG THAT EMBRACED LIFE, LOVE, AND FORGIVENESS – IT WOULD BE HER.

UPDATE ON 9/10/18:
We have been forced to realize her time is more than likely going to be shorter than we had hoped. Complications from the surgery are rearing their ugly head and the best we can do at this moment in time is give her the best in life for the short time we have. My heart, simply put, is broken. To know she is losing her battle and still wants to offer a kiss to me, my family, and strangers. To see her still continue to wag that tail. All we have left is to embrace our time. And to pray.
To desperately hold on to that hope that yet, once again, another miracle will happen. And that these tears that we are all shedding will cease and be replaced with smiles.
Jenny finds a way to wiggle herself into your soul and capture your heart. The one thing that gives us great comfort is that when our time comes and we take that final drive and that final walk is that I can tell her, ‘Yes, Jenny. I chose you. I chose every quirk, every fault, and every ounce of you to be ours.’
How blessed we were to share her love, her antics, her stories, and her journey with people who loved her just as much as we do.
How blessed we are.”

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