START A PETITION 27,000,000 members: the world's largest community for good
START A PETITION
x
5,670,473 people care about Animal Welfare

15-Year-Old Dog’s Owner Disappears, But He Has a Happy Ending

15-Year-Old Dog’s Owner Disappears, But He Has a Happy Ending

Editor’s note: This post is a Care2 favorite. It was originally published on June 25, 2012. Enjoy!

Written by Brenda Yannuzzi of Delaware

My husband and I have been involved in pet therapy for some time and when my therapy partner (an adorable little Sheltie) passed away suddenly, we were stunned and greatly saddened. After several weeks of grieving, I got a call from a local shelter I volunteered at. A single father who was commuting out of state for his job needed a place for his elderly Border collie mix to stay during the week. The owner would take the dog home on weekends to visit with his 13-year-old son and expected to stop commuting in 4-5 months. He would gladly provide food, vet care and cover all expenses for the dog.

Hansel arrived at our house with NO training beyond letting us know that he needed to go outside. He couldn’t walk on a leash, he couldn’t ride peacefully in the car, he had never been socialized; he was not neutered so he had lots and lots of energy that he didn’t know what to do with (and neither did we). He was basically a 12-year-old, 75 pound incorrigible dog with no manners but a sweet disposition who got along well with our epileptic Basset mix and the cats.

He Slowly Slipped Out of Hansel’s Life

Weekend visits with the owner went well for about a month. In the second month, he called less frequently. By the third month (holiday season) he called to ask if he could take Hansel for a visit and we arranged the day and time. He never showed up. During the holidays, I tried reaching him; unanswered voice and e-mail messages and letters confirmed what I suspected: that Hansel was being dumped on us.

I continued to try reaching the owner after the holidays and three months after our last contact, I had to admit that we were stuck with this dog, and were not going to recover the vet bills or money for food as promised.

Once we established that Hansel was indeed abandoned and were free to do what we wanted with him, we decided to keep him. We immediately got him neutered, which calmed him down to a manageable level. A few months later, I bumped into a friend who does dog training and happened to have some free time and she offered to evaluate him.

After just 20 minutes, she assured me that Hansel was extremely intelligent and eager to learn and to please. We spent a year training Hansel, who is a dream to work with. He quickly mastered all the basic commands plus a few extras, walks well on a leash and is calm in crowds of people. He sits politely when strangers want to pet him and is quite the gentleman now.

Hansel took and passed the exam to become a therapy dog and we now visit at a local senior center. He hasn’t fully grasped the concept that letting people admire and pet him and give him treats is his new “job,” but he’s a smart dog and I predict that soon he will be even better at making people smile. Until then, he trusts that this is what I want him to do and he gives it his best.

I don’t know how many more years we will have with Hansel. At nearly 15, he sometimes shows signs of arthritis and other health concerns, but he is young at heart and enjoys being a member of our little family as much as we enjoy having him. We do not appreciate the way in which Hansel came to be ours. It was cowardly and inconsiderate of the former owner to just walk away without a backward glance like that, but typical of the lack of loyalty many people have for their pets.

 

Luckily, this beautiful dog was dumped on people who had the time and desire to help make his golden years more meaningful. He is living proof that you can teach an old dog new tricks. Brought to you by The Great Animal Rescue Chase

 

Related Stories:

Mother Dog Shot After Giving Birth Helped By Hero’s Hand

Stray Shih Tzu Left on Doormat Squeezes into New Family’s Hearts

New Life for the Blind Husky That No One Wanted

Read more: , , , ,

have you shared this story yet?

some of the best people we know are doing it

905 comments

+ add your own
5:46PM PDT on Aug 8, 2015

I'm happy this dog can live out his life happy and well cared for!

3:17AM PDT on Jul 30, 2015

so glad he found a responsible family

3:16AM PDT on Jul 30, 2015

it seems that just about every thing about Hansel had been neglected

3:14AM PDT on Jul 30, 2015

it seems to have turned out for the best

3:13AM PDT on Jul 30, 2015

interesting story

11:02AM PDT on Jul 2, 2015

Wonderful reminder to everyone that older dogs are sometimes the better option for your new pet!!!

4:32AM PDT on Jun 15, 2015

thanks for the article.

9:22PM PDT on May 29, 2015

Hansel is beautiful! (But I would have gone to the previous owner's home, to find out what the heck was going on! Then, I would have happily kept him for my own.)

5:23AM PDT on May 21, 2015

This dog was lucky that he can stay with his carers now and his life will be much better after all the training he is going to be doing

7:46AM PDT on May 20, 2015

Hansel is better off with those nice caring people.

add your comment



Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

Care2 - Be Extraordinary - Start a Care2 Petition
ads keep care2 free
CONTACT THE EDITORS

Recent Comments from Causes

If we can't treat the Muslims who are already here with respect and dignity, stop burning their Mosques,…

I sincerely apologize for bothering... I NEED a new PC ! I buy one as soon as possible ... I'm so…

meet our writers

Kristina Chew Kristina Chew teaches and writes about ancient Greek and Latin and is Online Advocacy and Marketing... more
ads keep care2 free



Select names from your address book   |   Help
   

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.

site feedback

ONSITE FEEDBACK FORM

Problem on this page? Briefly let us know what isn't working for you and we'll try to make it right!