He Chose Me: The Joy of Loving a Senior Dog by Christine Starr

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I’m so honored that The Grey Muzzle Organization has invited me to do a guest blog post about my recently published children’s book, He Chose Me: The Joy of Loving a Senior Dog. My book tells the story of a little boy named Oliver who finally gets to choose a pet for his birthday. He decides that he wants a puppy but he's too overwhelmed by the rambunctious puppies at the pet store. A chance meeting with a neighbor's senior dog reveals to Oliver and his parents all that senior dogs have to offer and Oliver goes on a journey to find a senior dog to call his very own.

The realization of my dream to publish this book was the result of many generous donations to my Kickstarter campaign.

I’m a huge advocate of senior dog adoption and every time I adopt a new furry member to the family, there will inevitably be someone who can’t understand why I would adopt “such an old dog.” I want to change the misconceptions that people have about old dogs, and a children's book is the perfect vehicle to address such a sensitive topic. Most people bring a new pet home and focus on what they can teach it to do, but in my book, Oliver and his parents are pleasantly surprised when they realize all the things that an old dog can teach them.

I was inspired to write this book when I adopted Maddie (seen below wearing her Grey Muzzle neckerchief). Maddie was the kind of dog you shied away from at the shelter. She could barely walk, she had patches of fur missing, and she didn’t do much but sleep all day. She was “10-ish” and her owner had passed away leaving no provision for Maddie’s care. The owner’s son had left Maddie abandoned and alone in a vacant house, until the neighbors called the authorities and she was brought to the shelter where I adopted her.

I thought I could give her a loving home for a few months, with my pack of three dogs and a cat, until she crossed the proverbial Rainbow Bridge. I started her on a quality dog food and gave her medication for her arthritis. Something miraculous happened and Maddie became a different dog. She still struggled with her mobility, but eventually she stopped crying when I left the room, because she knew I would be coming back. She came to life, barking and playing with her new siblings, and charming everyone she met along the way.

I was blessed to have Maddie for a year and a half, and she brought more joy than you could imagine. Sadly, her body failed her in May of this year, but she had light in her eyes to the end. I knew when I brought her home back in 2012 that I would be changing her life, but I never realized how much she would change mine. I find comfort in knowing that she knew how much she was loved by all of us, and that's the hope I have for every senior dog.

A portion of the proceeds from each book sold will go toward donating the book to shelters and rescues to use in their outreach efforts to promote senior dog adoption.

He Chose Me is available on Amazon.com. You can preview of a few pages from the book here.

The Grey Muzzle Organization improves the lives of at-risk senior dogs by providing funding and resources to animal shelters, rescue organizations, sanctuaries, and other nonprofit groups nationwide.


About the Contributor: Christine Starr is a freelance writer living in Cleveland, Ohio. She's a lifelong animal lover who prefers the company of four-legged creatures and won't date anyone her dogs don't like. She adopted her first senior dog, a beagle named Bernie (at right), in 2007 and hasn’t looked back since. He Chose Me, her first foray into the publishing world, was written because she wanted to give a voice to senior dogs.