Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Pitfall of Adopting a Senior Dog

We heard about Pepi, a senior guy in Australia, who was adopted by former Olympic Level Michele Brown. Pepi was 12 years old at the time. That was 6 years ago. He is now 18 years old and leads quite an active life.

The Pitfall: Adopt a senior dog and he might be around a little longer than you expect.

We wanted to find out more about Pepi from an adoption perspective so Ms. Brown was kind enough to share the following with us.

What compelled you to adopt Pepi?
Without any preconceived ideas, Pepi was chosen from more handsome dogs because of his eyes. He was in a shelter pen with five bouncy puppies and his eyes pleaded, "Help! There's been a mistake. I'm not supposed to be here." He knew the odds were against him. When I couldn't take him that day, he sighed, dropped his head, and with great sadness turned and shuffled away. He came home the next day. Pepi knows how to speak from his heart.

Do you know how Pepi ended up homeless and in the shelter?
We are told he lived his "first" life with an elderly couple who had to move to a nursing home. He was 12 years (84 dog years) when he was made "homeless." The only thing his bio said was that he did not like riding in cars. He actually loves the car!

Pepi with his adoptive "grandpa" and "mom"

How did Pepi adjust to his new home?
The three (human) weeks at the shelter saved his life. Separation from his first family ripped his world apart. He hadn't been trained to beg on the street. He couldn't have survived on his own. It was tough for him at the shelter but when we got him home, he was so grateful. True, for a couple of months he had sad memories and, though anxious to please us, nothing could console him. He took 6 months to make his first bark. We were stunned and happy to hear it. Pepi was coming out of his shell! Nowadays, he has a huge vocabulary. His rehabilitation included taking walks, playing together, grooming and socializing with other dogs. Slowly at first, he came around. Once he turned the corner, he never looked back. Pepi is in his "second" life.

Does Pepi have any special needs or health issues that require special care?
Love and respect: Pepi is a dog-person, not "just a dog." When we enter a room, Pepi greets us with a tail wag. We greet him with a pat. Pepi lives indoors, as befitting a gentleman of his age. A deep, comfy bed is appreciated.
Responsibilities: Certain tasks are assigned to Pepi - carry in the mail, assist with groceries, accompany the trash out, charm visitors.
Security: He can still hear the front door bell.
Medical: A yearly health check and teeth cleaning. Monthly flea and heart worm preventative. Pepi has NO arthritis! At age 12 Pepi had signs of eye cataracts. Now his vision is down to 5% but it doesn't hold him back. His hearing is also down to 5%. But his heart and vital organs are in great shape!
Food: A fussy eater, but a wide variety of tastes.

What does Pepi do for fun and exercise?
Every day Pepi and I do a 5 mile run. Pepi rides in a child's pram while I run behind and push the pram. He rides 1/4 mile, walks 50 yards, rides, walks...

Pepi sometimes picks up hitchhikers.

Kind of makes you wonder, doesn't it, how many Pepis are overlooked in shelters everywhere just because they are in their golden years.

Pepi in the News:
"Plenty of Tricks in Pepi's Pram"

September 16, 2009
Earlier this month Pepi had gone to the vet for a routine dental cleaning. Immediately thereafter he started going into kidney failure, probably as a result of the anesthesia. Pepi was in and out of the hospital and was seeing a kidney specialist. Today Pepi was released from the hospital. After only 5 minutes at home he suffered a massive stroke. Pepi was rushed back to the hospital where he sadly had to be euthanized. Our deepest sympathy to Pepi's family. Rest in peace, little guy. You were one amazing dog!

Pepi's Memorial


  1. I am crying tears of joy for Pepi,the senior with lots of "pep" left.At the same time, I shed tears of sadness for all of the very adoptable and forgotten seniors sitting in shelters.Just like their human counterparts,they have so much to teach all of us!

  2. Pepi is a great dog, and deserving of the great home he has. He has been twice blessed, once with his first home and again with his second.
    Senior animals are so rewarding. We don't like to feel we are "over the hill" and not worthy of love and attention, so why should people impose that on animals?

    Emmy the cat (adopted as an adult_

  3. That is such a heartwarming story about genuine kindness! Pepi is such gent and Jazzydacat and her human sis, Trea, love him to bits! It is stories like this that make the sun shine and the world turn.

    Here's to an even longer and happier and active life, Darling Pepi...and Michele.

    Love you forever,
    Jazzy XXXXX

  4. From PiddleandPurr a.k.a. Rosie and Blossom

    This is a WONDERFUL heartwarming story. Pepi is a very special pooch and we are so glad Pepi has his special momma. Lordy, if our momma gets sick and has to leave us, wez don't thinks anybody will takes us -- wez bad kitties.

    From Rosie and Blossom's Momma

    A heartwarming story indeed - a dear friend and I have made the decision that when our 'babies' leave us for the Rainbow Bridge, that it will be our mission to take pets who are in Pepi's situation -- pets who once belonged to an elderly person/couple and continue loving them and caring them as the original owners would have. Your story has made me more committed to that act than ever ---

    Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful story ----- and sending you a special hug.

  5. OH. HOW YOU ARE LOVED! ♡♡♡♡ JOY to the world.
    and woof's from my ancienne Haileydoggi. She is 17.

  6. Love the Stroller! You are adorable and loved very much.

    Abi and Madi
    The Kritter Kommunity

  7. Well done old man, you certainly landed on all fours, Hats off to you xx


  8. Thank you Michelle for giving Pepi a chance and being such a good mama.

    We hope this story inspires others to adopt older pets, and children - and spouses!

    We love you Pepi!
    Kristin & Cokie =^..^=

  9. Awww... Pepi. What a great story for a great doggie!

  10. As a mom to 5 rescue seniors I absolutely love Pepi's frosty face and spunk. I wish everyone would realize that like fine wine the oldies just get better with age. The love of an older dog is simply priceless. Pepi, you're awesome!

  11. Awwwww sweet Pepi. You and your pram are so adorable. I can see what your human means about the expressiveness of your eyes. Unfortunately, your giving my mummy ideas about adopting another dog...stop now! You're too cute.

  12. Pepi is great and his family is made up of very special people to adopt a senior dog with aging problems! Sounds like a perfect fit together! They all awesome!!
    Herminey hugs,
    Herminey @Dog_Crazy

  13. What an awesome story! I am so glad that Pepi is living his 2nd life! He is a very special dog!

  14. Pepi! U the DAWG! Wey 2B a survivor! U gotz a very speshul mama, bless her!!! U and Ur mama's example is moost inspiring, and so wundurful.
    Thanx for sharing UR story and pix and fun personality wiff us, UR frends. Luv & Andy Hugs

  15. What a wonderful and heartwarming story.

    Let's hope it encourages people to rehome an 'oldie'.

    Gob bless you Pepi! xxx

  16. Pepi,

    This is just adorable and you look so handsome. So happy you have found such a wonderful second home. If only everyone could have the same good fortune. We are very happy to be your friend!

  17. U ROCK PEPI!!! u is my hero!!! #pughug #pughug !!

  18. Aww Pepi, what a neat doggie you are. U has a most wonderful mama too. A perfect, forever home. I love happy endings. @ladycat3

  19. What a great story-- it makes my heart happy:)
    By the way Pepi-- you are a very handsome dog!

  20. Oh Pepi, I loved reading your inspiring story!

  21. Pepi, old friend, what a great story. You found a wonderful Mama to take care of you in your golden years, whenever they will come. You're still young at heart and I hope you live forever. Stay safe in that pram, you lucky dog!
    Cathy Keisha

  22. What a great story. I just love a happy ending!

  23. I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


  24. I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


  25. Thank you for giving Pepi a second chance, what a wonderful dog!
    Love his tweets also!
    hugs to you Pepi!
    Prudence Pup (typed by her pal Theresa, tildatoo on Twitter)

  26. That's a lovely story! How great that you rescued Pepi and he has lived a full life with you for 6 years. Lovely the way he rides in a pram.

    Am praying for his recovery now. My @SmudgeBestCat sends him warm purrrrs.