It takes very special people to help our special senior pups. Thankfully, our seniors have Jim and Chris Guthrie as two of their heroes, and their support has ensured that we save as many seniors as possible.
Jim and Chris are very passionate about senior pups. Over the years, they have supported senior dogs in as many ways as possible, helping them find their forever homes by providing funds for some much needed surgeries and medical treatments, fostering them until they find loving homes, and, of course, adopting many of them themselves. The stories of “older” dogs in shelters are well-known. They are the most vulnerable ones at risk to be euthanized at a shelter. They are many times “dumped” by their owners due to perceived health issues and inconvenience, or they are overlooked due to age, looks, or medical issues that come with aging. Sadly, these older dogs, especially the larger dogs, may be the last ones, if ever, to find a loving home.
Jim and Chris devote most of their efforts in helping, fostering, and adopting the large dogs with medical issues. Statistics have shown that these can be the hardest pups to find homes for and yet Jim and Chris have found that they are the most loving and sweetest dogs to bring into a home. “We love the seniors because they truly are so easy to care for, even if they have some medical issues. They are laid back, non-destructive and appreciate just being around you. And, they sleep through the night,” says Chris. Senior pups are easy to train. Jim and Chris have never had an issue with house-training as senior dogs learn so quickly and are extremely willing to please.
Jim and Chris currently have 9 dogs, but that doesn’t stop them from fostering more! When they bring in a new senior foster, it takes about 20-30 minutes for everyone to say “hello” to each other and then the foster pup becomes a part of the family routine. For Jim and Chris, one of the greatest joys in bringing home a senior dog is seeing him/her discover a toy for the first time and knowing that this pup is happy and having the time of its life. These are just a few of the small, yet heart-warming, joys that Jim and Chris experience every time they bring home a senior dog. They know that they have saved a life, and in return they are provided with memories that they will cherish forever.
Jim and Chris have fostered and adopted many senior pups, but the one that started their work with Austin Pets Alive! was Casey. Back in 2011, APA! made a plea for a foster for a 12-year-old senior dog that needed a lot of medical attention. Chris saw her picture and immediately knew that she could help, so she and Jim jumped in the car and picked Casey up. Casey was a medical foster. She had tested high positive for heartworms, had a severe upper respiratory infection, an ear infection, and demodex mange that was so bad she had lost almost all of her fur. In addition, it appeared that she had recently had puppies and was severely underweight. This sweet girl was a mess and, although she needed a lot of medical care, what she truly needed was a lot of TLC provided by her wonderful foster parents. In the course of treating her various medical ailments, Jim and Chris saw that she was limping. This was the result of a gunshot and Casey had a bullet in her shoulder and buckshot throughout her chest and shoulder areas. She had also lost all her front teeth, likely as a result of trying to gnaw her way out of a cage. After seeing Casey through all of her medical treatments, including her heartworm treatment, it was clear that Casey was not going anywhere. Casey was already home and had stolen the hearts of Jim and Chris. She became their first “APA! Foster Failure” and is thriving today! Casey is still with Jim and Chris and she is probably one the healthiest senior pup they have. Casey is proof that an older dog with a range of medical issues can still be a healthy, happy, and (sometimes) energetic pup living the good life!