Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Dog on the Blog: Kiwi - Staying Alive!

Kiwi came to live with us a little over two years ago. She and her buddy, Max, an obese rat terrier, had been turned in to the Texas City Animal Shelter and did not stand a chance of being adopted, because both were so very old.

Laurine Murtaugh, patron saint of elderly dogs at that shelter, asked if they could come live here.

There seems to be an epidemic of older dogs being turned in by owners, who just walk away from them. It is sad any time a dog is dumped at a shelter. But it seems especially heinous for a dog who has spent his whole life with a family, whose loyalty to that family has never wavered, to be just thrown away like an old light bulb.

Max and Kiwi at least had each other. We were pleased for them to come live out their lives here where they would be safe, and allowed to have the number of days allotted them by God.

Sadly, Max was not in good health when he arrived. And he was morbidly obese. I regret not having any photos of Max. Max only lived another 6 months after arriving here, and then it was his time to go.

And that left Kiwi alone. After all those years together with Max.

Fortunately, a small dog just about Kiwi's size arrived not long afterward. We introduced Lois to Kiwi, and they became friends. Lois is younger, but is content to take life easy and mainly observe the other dogs and the goings on around the farm, just like Kiwi.

Kiwi's age has been estimated at 16 years, possibly older! And yet she is still going. She has a good appetite, her health is good, and she enjoys her life here at the farm. Lois and Kiwi live in the house, and go outside to their play yard during the daytime for several hours. Then they return inside. Kiwi naps a lot. But once in a great while, she will still decide to play with Lois a little bit. She will growl a little, chase Lois a little, and then lay down to rest from all the exertion!

Kiwi is beginning to lose her sight because cataracts are forming on her eyes. But she still seems to be watching and seeing things around the farm. Her favorite treat is ice cream, which she still enjoys, even though she no longer has all her teeth.

Kiwi still gives exuberant kisses, and she loves to be held.

Little Kiwi has had two years of life she would not have had, if she had not come to the farm. And it has been a happy life, with Max and then Lois. We don't know how much more time she has left, but however many more days God may have granted her, Kiwi will enjoy each one to the fullest and she will not leave this world until it is her natural, God-ordained time!

Jay Hellerich, executive director
smiling dog farms
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wharton, texas

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