Against all odds, a rescued senior Labrador has found a loving home
Statistics show that black dogs and senior dogs are the last to be adopted. When you’re both, chances of finding a loving new home are slim to none! That’s what makes this story so special!
For Pops, a nine-year-old black Labrador Retriever, fate stepped in to lend a hand!
Pops arrived at the Cedar Bend Humane Society on Feb. 10.
“A black Lab, a senior dog — they are the last to be adopted,” said Caitlyn Evans, adoption supervisor at CBHS. “He kind of had everything riding against him.”
But for the staff and residents of Thalman Square, the Lab had everything going for him. The senior dog was exactly what they were looking for.
Thalman Square is home to elderly residents with memory impairments, including dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Studies show animal-assisted therapy improves mood, decreases behavioral issues and has a calming effect in patients with memory impairment. It also encourages social interaction.
“He’s loved by everyone,” said Phyllis Duffman a Thalman resident.
“(Pops is) so open and so fresh. Everybody just loves to take time with him. It’s a mood lifter. And there’s more togetherness.”
The Lab was at the Cedar Bend shelter for a little more than a month when Thalman Square director Diana Lane began searching for a resident dog. The successful dog had to meet the requirements set forth by a committee that included staff and residents.
They were looking for calm and mature dog who was able to understand when he was welcome and when not. Lane found Pops on the CBHS website.
“We saw his mug shot with the gray (face) and it was so endearing,” she said. “We went to meet him, and he was perfect.”
No one knows much about the Lab’s history prior to last fall. In October, a Florida rescue organization surrendered many dogs to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals because of a lack of resources. Pops was among those surrendered.
Pops was among seven of those dogs brought to CBHS after receiving months of medical care and behavioral enrichment at a temporary ASPCA shelter in Virginia. Long-haul moves like that and time in a shelter can be stressful, particularly for an aging dog.
Pops was named by the ASPCA for his salt-and-pepper muzzle. Today he shows no signs of stress. The old boy spends his days curled up on sofas next to Thalman residents. The less talkative residents tend to open up when sitting next to Pops.
“He’s a very good listener,” said Rebecca Rohwedder, Pops’ primary caretaker and Thalman’s certified therapeutic recreation specialist. “He’s a very relaxing dog.”
Every morning, Pops accompanies her to get the mail and do his doggy outdoor duties. He greets all staff, residents and visitors who cross his path.
“He’s gotten comfortable walking down the halls, peeking around and looking for new friends,” she added.
Like other residents at Thalman, Pops has his own room, his own daily schedule and personal medical and nutrition charts. It’s a must for continuity of care between staffing shifts, Rohwedder said.
Even though he has his own personal space that includes a comfy bed, the once homeless Labrador prefers to spend his time in Thalman’s common area among his new, extended forever family.
“Pops comes right to me. He is so good, so well-behaved,” Duff said. “We had a family dog, a Lab, for 13 years. It brings back memories.”
Way to go Pops! Enjoy your golden years!
Article and image source: WCFCourier