Irene, a widow, says Donald brought love back into her life in a most unexpected way.
BY IRENE HOLLAND
PHOTOS BY MARIE RODRIGUEZ
At 83-years-young, if anyone had told me I would be in love for the second time in my life I would have disagreed totally with them.
After I moved to Charleston in June 2017 as a widow in order to be closer to family, I knew I needed to find a companion as I found myself talking to myself most of the time. I told all of my friends that I was looking for a dog.
My criteria were pretty simple – I didn’t want a small dog that I could trip over and also not a huge dog that would pull me over when leash walking. But I knew I wanted an adult dog.
Late last Spring I was playing bridge and had just eaten lunch with “the girls” when my daughter called me about a dog she thought would be perfect for me.
She was at Charleston Animal Society and had met “Stormy.” He was a medium-sized, senior poodle with a patch of grey here and there, an incredibly friendly personality and he was completely blind.
I got so excited I left my credit card at the restaurant and took off in the pouring rain to go meet Stormy at the shelter.
LOVE AT FIRST WAG
When I arrived, I knew it was meant to be. Here was this timid black dog who had been found out in the rain several days before. His microchip wasn’t registered but he was neutered. And on top of the blindness, he was heartworm positive and way too skinny. The shelter said he was about 10 years old.
I fell in love instantly and knew this would be my buddy. But the name “Stormy” just didn’t fit – so I renamed him “Donald” because he does sort of have hair on his head like Donald Trump. Going through the adoption process could not have been easier. Very nice people took me through the adoption paperwork and even provided Donald his first bag of dog food. They also made arrangements to start Donald on his heartworm treatment! I was thrilled and made a donation to Charleston Animal Society.
MY NEW LIFE
It took only a couple of days for Donald to walk around the furniture in my home and not bump into anything. He has great hearing and a terrific sense of smell and knows where I am by sound. He walks well on a leash and needs very little guidance to not bump into trees or benches on walks.
He loves children and other dogs but I’m still not sure about cats. He does have some separation anxiety and checks on my location frequently but doesn’t mind being left alone for a few hours during the day. He is housetrained and crate trained but I only use the crate when absolutely necessary.
All my life my dogs have been family dogs, shared with husband and children but this time, Donald is mine — all mine!
As a senior lady I highly recommend adopting a senior animal. No furniture chewing and as I’ve learned, you can teach an old dog new tricks. Donald learned to sit, stay and stop (when I find him heading toward a danger while leash walking).
Thanks to Charleston Animal Society for saving senior, disabled dogs like Donald. I may have been alone before, but Donald has filled the hole I had in my heart and even though he doesn’t answer back I now have someone to talk to, anytime I want.