Like people, animals are living longer. Advances in nutrition, medicine and welfare knowledge mean lifespans are increasing and we are seeing more and more elderly animals handed in for rehoming. When animals outlive the time their owners can commit to them, rescues centers like us often need to step in.
Buster the terrier had been living in a back garden for the majority of his adult life. He had had limited human interaction and didn't have much idea of what being a dog meant; he had not experienced many of the things we take for granted in our own dogs lives such a playtime, a cozy bed and cuddles. When he was finally handed into Raystede, he was fourteen years old.
Due to years of limited attention, both medical and emotional we knew Buster's remaining time was short. We desperately wanted him to have the love of a family around him but knew it would take a special person to be so unselfish to adopt a dog they might only have a matter of weeks with. Luckily for Buster, the perfect couple stepped forward.
As it turned out, this neglected, sad and sick little dog had eleven whole months of bliss with his new owners. Roo, as he came to be known, had everything a dog could ask for and more and essentially crammed a lifetime of walks, games and love into just under a year. By the time he little body finally gave up, he had, as owner Barbara put it, just learnt how to be a dog.
Buster was pampered and spoilt and was finally given the chance to see what it meant to be the centre of someone's world. They put him first in every respect and without doubt extended his life. Although losing him was heartbreaking, the gift of living rather than just existing is an incredible thing for Barbara and her partner to have done and was fantastically rewarding. Instead of leaving this world as an unwanted and neglected dog, he died surrounded by affection, security and warmth. Buster's is a bitter sweet story of redemption, hope and above all, love.
Every animal is an individual and the circumstances of their lives and history will be different in every case. It is rare to have one as extreme as Buster's and often older animals may still have years left to enjoy new adventures rather than just a few short months. Whatever their story, we would urge people to consider an older pet when looking at rehoming. You may have just a little time with them, you may have a lot but whatever happens you will be giving an incredible gift of your love and devotion in the twilight of their life. Be the golden in their last years and make a dog as happy as Buster Roo.