Waldo, Maxine & Tess

A tale of three older dogs and how each life touches another and brought them a new lease on life
Waldo, a Soft –Coated Wheaten Terrier was our family dog we had since a puppy. He grew up with our daughters but when he turned 10 it was obvious his youth was gone and old age was hitting him hard. By now my daughters were both in college; Waldo seemed lonely as well as tired. I felt a new dog would perk him up and keep him company so I began a 4 month search for just the right dog, a quiet dog who would be content to sit with him and occasionally move around for a short romp.
Finally I found a little 5 year old Shih Tzu rescued from a puppy mill. She had spent her life in a cage, having one litter after another, and had just and a litter, when she was saved along with 18 other dogs. One of the saddest parts of her story was that she never even had a name…It was January still Christmas break and I took her home. My daughters were home also and decided to name her Maxine. Maxine seemed to learn her name immediately. She didn’t know how to walk on a leash… and didn’t even know what grass felt like. She walked on the ground and looked at the outside world as if she had just landed on MARS. I had to literally pick her up and move her from spot to spot on the lawn for several days before she made steps on her own
After a month Maxine and Waldo became best buddies. She did exactly what I had hoped for; she just loved to sit quietly on the same rug with Waldo, and when he got up to go to another part of the house more often than not, she followed him. It was now May and we began to notice that Waldo was having very bad days and more often. We also noticed that often Maxine would sleep closer to him than usual. Memorial Day weekend Waldo stopped eating and all I could get into him was some scrambled eggs. The vet was closed on Memorial day and I had a bad feeling that Waldo was near the end. Waldo dearly loved two things, car rides and people. So Memorial Day morning I took him and Maxine for a long drive to Panera Bread. We sat outside in the cool Spring Florida Sunshine. I bought him and egg soufflé and although he could only get himself to eat half of it, he was very happy and perky. The next morning was different. He could hardly get up. My daughters were home for the summer and I was so glad they were home in time to say goodbye. I took the day off of work, brought him to the vet where he got ex-rays that showed he had cancer. The vet felt that surgery was not an option for Waldo as he had a low chance of surviving the operation. He told me Waldo was very tired and sick and it was the best thing to do for him was to put him down. My vet looked at Waldo and said ‘Well Waldo, we’ve been together for a long time now, I’m going to miss you.”. By then I hardly can remember the sequence of events of what happened because it was so overwhelming but I recall also saying how much Maxine would miss him too… then Waldo was gone.
My vet looked at me and his eyes lit up as if he suddenly had a idea, and he said he had another dog for me, a dog who was desperate for a home, would help us all get over the loss of Waldo while at the same time giving this dog a second chance. My vet had a 7 year old purebred Schnauzer in his back kennels, given up because she had diabetes. Her owner wanted her put down, but the vet could not get himself to do it because she was such a sweet dog and he asked the owner if instead could he find her a home. The dog (named Tess) had been with the vet now for almost 6 weeks and was even featured on the local cable show for adoption.. But she had no takers. My vet kept saying the word desperate in describing Tess and he said it desperately. I kept saying that I could not give a shot and he kept telling me it was a piece of cake. I told him I could not afford it, and he told me he would work things out in that department. So in my moment of weakness and sadness I asked to see the dog. She was a total sweetheart. Everything he said about her personality was true. Although this sounds cliché and corny, it didn’t seem as if I was replacing Waldo… it seemed as if I was honoring him.
I brought her home and my daughters did not share my feeling. They cried and felt I had replaced Waldo too quickly and it made them cry all. While we were all crying and arguing about my decision, Tess was prancing around the house happy to be out of her kennel and in a home. Finally, I told the girls that maybe I did take the dog too quickly and I would put her in the car and take her back… with that, both my daughters cried and said. ‘NO DON’T DO THAT WE LIKE HER!”
And so it was that Tess came to live with us. Maxine did miss Waldo exactly as I thought,,, she didn’t eat for a few days and I called the vet’s office. They told me to give her a little hamburger meat to get her interested in eating again. That worked.
Maxine and Tess have been together now for almost 3 weeks.. They have not completely bonded yet but the signs are there and they seem to sit closer, and in the same room for longer periods of time. Tess being so active the way Schnauzers are known to be, has helped Maxine be a little livelier. Giving the shots is easy. Tess is a wonderful watchdog and sits with the family or a member of the family at all times. The down side is the vet made a mistake in her age. Tess is really 10 years old. I don’t know if that was intentional, they said it was not… whichever it was, I am glad I didn’t know that when he told me about her because I don’t think I would have even considered her for one second or bother to look at her. I realized that Tess doesn’t know her age… She lives happily for today, therefore what does age matter? She still is a great dog! I am glad we gave her a second chance on life and I think adopting older dogs are very rewarding. Waldo, who was always a dear and wonderful dog, helped save the lives of two other dogs in desperate need, this has helped us get over the sadness of him being gone. Waldo, Maxine, Tess sll gave each other a new lease on life.

Tamara from FL