My name is Erin and I started Susie’s Senior Dogs (SSD) in January 2014. SSD is named after me and my husband Brandon’s late senior dog who was named Susie. She came into our lives when she was about 12 years old – when her former owner could no longer keep her. The owner had asked my husband if he could take Susie, and even though friends and family had advised against, my husband said yes to bringing Susie home.
Up until that point, Susie had been with her former owner for her entire life. Understandably, it took her a few weeks to adjust in her new home, she had suddenly lost the life she always knew! But Susie soon started to open up again, and she especially bonded with Brandon.
At first, I hadn’t thought much about Susie’s age. To us, she was adorable, easygoing, and a wonderful companion dog. But I quickly discovered adopting an older dog was unusual. When people learned that Susie was brought home as a senior dog the response was always the same: shock, surprise, and curiosity. This gave me an idea. Realizing that senior dogs were often overlooked, I began to search around the Internet for homeless senior dogs in our area. Sure enough, I noticed there were many older dogs up for adoption at shelters. And they were getting lost among the cute puppies and younger dogs. I quickly began to think about how I could get other people to adopt an older dog. We loved our Susie and adopting her was such a wonderful experience. I wanted other people to know that joy too! And that’s what sparked the creation of Susie’s Senior Dogs.
I describe Susie’s Senior Dogs as a social platform that brings attention to the plight of homeless senior dogs. SSD has obtained 501(c)(3) status and is a national organization. With a large, growing following on social media, I am able to use the SSD platform to bring light to specific homeless senior dogs who are struggling to find a forever home due to their age. SSD is able to use donations to sponsor the needs of senior dogs, such as vet care, special training sessions…typically, anything that will help a senior dog become more “adoptable” and increase their chances of finding a forever home.
To date, SSD has directly resulted in over 1200 senior dog adoptions across the United States since January 2014. What’s even more encouraging are the emails I receive from people sharing their story about a senior dog who they adopted locally after being inspired by SSD. That is incredibly impactful! And I am so thankful to every person who has opened to their home and heart to an older pet.
My hope is that more and more people will see the beauty in adopting an older dog. I strongly believe that time is irrelevant when it comes to love — a day feels like a year, and a year feels like a day. It is not about how much time we do or don’t have with an animal, but rather the value in the relationship that we have with them. Senior dogs make wonderful pets and adopting them will always be worth any heartache a person may fear. I always say…I would rather it me be who is heartbroken over the loss of a senior dog than for a senior dog to be alone at their death.
Our sweet Susie passed away on April 22, 2016. We had nearly 5 years with Susie and I am thankful for every single one of those days that she was ours. We had the privilege of taking Susie on many adventures with us and we made so many wonderful memories together! But I think what was most important to Susie was that she had been loved at end of her life. She never went a day without love. When meeting shelter dogs, I often think of my Susie and imagine if it was her living there…and that is incredibly difficult to think about. And so, in Susie’s memory, I continue to encourage people to “take a chance” on adopting an old dog. I do believe that in the end it won’t feel like a chance at all. But rather, in adopting a senior dog I believe you feel forever grateful this life-changing gift who came into your life.
We adopted Simon in November 2014 from the Carson Animal Shelter in Los Angeles, CA. He is currently estimated to be around 16 years old, and still going strong! Simon recently underwent surgery to repair a dislocated hip, but he is otherwise in perfect health. He and our late Susie had a special bond and he loved snuggling up to her. After Susie passed, we made sure Simon was never alone. Although he prefers being in the company of other beings, as he’s aged his preferences have become a bit more particular these days. He’s a tad cranky with new people and dogs, but Simon enjoys a peaceful life that suits his needs. We adore our 5 pound peanut and snuggles are always abound with Simon!
Sara is our most recently adopted dog and we are absolutely smitten! She is estimated to be around 8 years old and we brought her home in June 2017. Sara was originally found as a stray and ended up at the public shelter, Brooklyn Animal Care Center. And then rescued by Animal Haven shelter in Manhattan. We don’t know anything about her history, but her personality and temperament are perfection. She is sensitive and loving and divine! She is a true testament to the wonderful nature that so many shelter dogs have. Sara is a very good big sister to Simon and she keeps him company when the humans are gone from home. Sara adores meeting new people and loves hosting our house guests. Sara is our super sweet senior girl!
Our late Moby was a very special soul. We adopted him in April 2016 and he was estimated to be 8 years old. Moby had been surrendered over to Animal Haven when his former owner fled a domestic violence situation. When Moby first came into our home he was not in good shape physically or emotionally – he was emaciated and depressed. We also learned Moby had liver disease. And although the vets didn’t have a long life expectancy for Moby, we adopted him wholeheartedly. Moby was an amazing dog! And over the course of the one year we had with our precious boy, he experienced more adventures than he likely ever experienced in his lifetime. And to Moby, adventures were his greatest source of joy of all time. He loved his daily off-leash walks in Central Park, romping around on sandy beaches, and he even made it to the top of a 3,000 foot mountain in New Hampshire. (We’re pretty sure that was the happiest day of Moby’s life!) Unfortunately, at the end of March 2017 Moby’s liver quickly started to shut down. We had been closely monitoring his health, but his body was failing him.
On April 5th, 2017 we took Moby on one last family adventure to our nearest National Park. He was tired and weak, but he was so, so happy. And on April 6th, 2017 we had to heartbreakingly say goodbye.
I will always wish I had more time with Moby, but I will never-ever regret adopting him. I am so thankful we were given the chance to make the last year of his life the absolute best year of his life. For that I am certain. And for that I am grateful. We love you, Moby!