A Shih Tzu named Maddie is one of the senior dogs featured in the new book My Old Dog: Rescued Pets with Remarkable Second Acts by Laura T. Coffey and Lori Fusaro (photographer). Maddie was rescued and then adopted to a wonderful home by Muttville Senior Dog Rescue. Located in San Francisco's Rescue Row, Muttville takes in senior dogs who don’t have much chance of adoption in a shelter due to their age. Since 2008, an annual grant from The Grey Muzzle Organization has helped make more Muttville adoptions possible by providing funds for medical expenses for adoptable dogs.
We recently interviewed Madelon Weber, Maddie's adopter, and thanks to photographer Lori Fusaro and My Old Dog's publisher New World Library, are able to include some of Lori's beautiful photographs of Maddie.
Who is Maddie?
Madelon: Maddie is a wonderful, approximately 7-year-old Shih Tzu who I adopted from Muttville Senior Dog Rescue in San Francisco. She is the sweetest and gentlest little girl and a joy to be around. We are companions and make each other’s life content and fulfilling. I love her joy when I walk through the front door. Her tail-wagging makes me think that if I had a tail, mine would be also wagging at her.
How did Maddie become a part of your life?Madelon: I had a lot of losses at one time. My husband died suddenly of cardiac arrest and some months later Charlie, my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, had to be put down due to serious heart problems. Loneliness and the awful total silence of my home was depressing me. My children live outside of California and I felt so totally alone. Depression was settling in on me and I didn’t feel like I had a real purpose or participation in daily life.
My daughter was concerned about my lackluster attitude. She had heard of Muttville Senior Dog Rescue (as had I) from people I knew in the dog world. I was being urged by several people to look into a rescue dog. I just couldn’t think about starting with all the needs and training of a puppy since I had done that before and was aware of the work it required.
I needed to mourn my dog Charlie’s passing, but decided to look at Muttville’s website. I was quite captivated by how they described the dogs and their needs and abilities—whether they needed meds, were good with cats, or kids, other dogs, etc. As a retired physical therapist, I became interested in a Shih Tzu named Scooter, who was thought to have been hit by a car and had some paralysis in his legs. It came to me that I might be able to rehab him if I adopted him. My daughter and I went to Muttville to see him. While sitting there another Shih Tzu named Max came over and sat down on my daughter's feet. He had poor vision but was a sweetheart. I decided to take him home. A week after his arrival at my home Max went in for neutering and died during the surgery. I couldn’t believe it. Another loss!
I decided not to go through this again. But, one day I came home and found a beautiful box of flowers from Muttville with a sympathy card for my loss of Max. I was touched by this sentiment. A phone call followed and mentioned another Shih Tzu coming from Fresno. This little dog Maddie and I bonded almost immediately. Since my name is Madelon and I was called Maddie as a child, this seemed another stamp of approval for getting this dog.
How did Maddie’s story become featured in the book My Old Dog: Rescued Pets with Remarkable Second Acts?
Madelon: When I first received an email from Laura Coffey I did not know she had been given my name by Muttville, so I thought maybe this was spam or a scam or something like that. I looked her up on Google and found that she was really who she claimed to be in the email, so I accepted having her phone me. It has been a delightful experience. I felt that if my story could help anyone else in need and perhaps encourage adopting an older dog, then I wanted to do this.
What has it been like to be the subject of a book?Madelon: I am usually a very private person and this was a little beyond my usual comfort zone, but the overall benefit to others overcame my personal concerns. It is still mind boggling that Laura would fly down from Seattle to visit with me and then Lori would drive up from Los Angeles to take the pictures. Meeting Laura Coffey and the photographer Lori Fusaro has been the best experience for me in a long time.
What would you say to someone thinking about adopting an older dog?
Madelon: I doubt they would have any regrets getting an older dog. They are mellow, sweet, seasoned, and so desiring to please and bring joy wherever they go. My 12-year-old grandson is very fond of Maddie, so I can say with honesty that kids can love these older dogs also. I LOVE my old dog.
You can read more about Maddie and her adopter, Madelon, in the new book My Old Dog: Rescued Pets with Remarkable Second Acts by Laura T. Coffey and Lori Fusaro (photographer). The book can be purchased online via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and at independent bookstores near you.
Muttville Senior Dog Rescue, located in San Francisco's Rescue Row, takes in senior dogs who don’t have much chance of adoption in a shelter because of their age. Since 2008, an annual grant from The Grey Muzzle Organization has helped make more Muttville adoptions possible by providing funds for medical expenses for adoptable dogs. For more information about Muttville and all of the wonderful organizations that Grey Muzzle supports, see Who We Help.
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.
Interviewed by K.E. Magoon, Grey Matters Blog Manager and Editor.