Printed from:

Welcome to Columbia Magazine  

Happy Tail: Dolly - a new life for an old dog

Dolly was old when she came to Sugarfoot Rescue. She was good with the other dogs, never aggressive but never made any attempt to play with them. She always had the saddest eyes that went so deep it was as if she had a very sad story to tell. She did, but all that changed when a woman from Louisville saw Dolly's photo online, and sensed she would be a perfect quiet companion for Bodhi. Click on headline for story with photo(s)
The next earlier Happy Tail: Meant to be - The Lindsey Wilson College Coach and his dog

By Peg Schaeffer

Dolly - a new life for an old dog

A year ago a man stopped at the farm to tell us about a dog that had shown up at his house. She was very skinny and had been there for a few days so he knew she must be a stray.

He asked us to take her in. He brought back a senior female black Lab who was emaciated. She obviously had been nursing a litter of puppies and they had literally sucked the life out of her.

She looked tired, worn, and brokenhearted.

She was very wary of me and was just happy to have some food and a warm place to sleep. We kept her in our kennel area because she wanted to be left alone. She spent most of her days sleeping either in the sun on warm days or under the heat lamp when it was cold.

I had her spayed and she gradually began to gain weight. She still remained aloof and although seemed happy to see me would never give me more than a quiet wag of her tail. I would offer her treats and she would gently take them from my hand but with nothing more than the cursory tail wag.

She was good with the other dogs, never aggressive but never made any attempt to play with them. She always had the saddest eyes that went so deep it was as if she had a very sad story to tell.

Maybe she'd been abandoned after her puppies were weaned, maybe her owners moved and left her behind, maybe she had a loving owner who died and the family didn't want to care for her.

But whatever her sad tale was, it had broken her heart.

A woman who had seen Dolly's story on Petfinder emailed me and asked about her.

We communicated back and forth several times about her. This went on for 3 or 4 months. Her name was Elizabeth Pike and she and her husband, Andrew, lived in Louisville. They had fallen in love with this lovely dog over the internet and wanted to adopt her.

They came out on a Sunday with their senior dog, Bodhi, who is 14 years old. They wanted him to have a quiet friend to keep him company and lay in front of the fireplace with him on warm days.

Dolly was amicable enough but not excited. She let them pet her but never really responded.

She wouldn't walk on the leash with them.

She looked at me like I was betraying her too. My heart strings pulled for this girl but I cannot keep all of these dogs. It's my duty to find them a home where they will be part of a family. They need a place where they can receive more love and attention. A place they can call home.

We had to carry Dolly to put her in the back of their SUV where her new friend, Bodhi, was sleeping. She lay next to him, rested her head on her paws and off she went to her new home.

Her new owners have been very patient with her. Here's a note I received from them on Christmas: "Merry Christmas, Peg! I hope you and yours are enjoying a wonderful holiday season. Just wanted to give you an update on sweet little Dolly.

Since last we were in touch, she had a visit to the vet. They estimated her age at about seven, and they all commented on how sweet she is. They said she should be well-adapted to life here within 6 weeks. I hope so. There are times I think she misses you and her many puppy friends.

She still stays pretty close to our old, Bodhi. She is learning her new routine more and more each day but still spooks quite easily. We haven't even started leash training yet, but she does usually come when Andrew or I call her. She still doesn't like the hardwood or tile floors though. She likes to stay on the rugs. Mostly, she just enjoys lounging on her new fake fur blanket or bed.

We are very glad she is here with us and all our family love her, too. We'll keep you informed on her progress."

This is the latest note I've received about Dolly. It's quite obvious she has found a new lease on life:
"Dolly is settling in and knows our daily routine quite well. Her new daily routine mostly includes a lot of napping in her new bed in between meal times.

"We're looking forward to spring so we can get out and play a little more. With the colder and rainier weather we still haven't done much leash training so I am afraid to take her out and about. I doubt she would run, but you never know.

"She is still very fond of Bodhi, our 13 year old strawberry blond lab mix, and she follows him very closely. You can tell she is learning new things from him every day. He taught her to give a little bark at the back door to let us know she is ready to come in. Since then, she has become quite the talker. Last night, the four of us echoed back and forth grunts and woofs and whines for several comical minutes. Too bad, Andrew and I have no idea what we said. :)

"In addition to talking to us, she now seems to enjoy our petting her and scratching behind her ears. Although I suspect her excitement is about the upcoming dinner, she does now run to the door with Bodhi to greet me when I get home. Her little tail wags with such force she often knocks over my poor old, skinny Bodhi.

"Anyway, we are certainly glad she is here. Andrew comments nearly every day what a good dog she is and will be even more once we can do some training. She certainly didn't have any trouble learning "lay down in your bed." Attached is a picture of a typical day around here. It's a hard life compared to the farm. ;) "
So Dolly has been given a second chance at love. She deserves this and I am happy that Elizabeth, Andrew and Bodhi found her. She will live the rest of her life out knowing love and learning to be happy again. It breaks my heart to see any dogs abandoned or surrendered to a shelter but the seniors are the ones I am most sympathetic with.

These dogs have already lived the majority of their lives with someone they loved unconditionally. They don't care if you're rich or poor they love YOU. But then to be cast aside like an old shoe is just unforgivable. Senior dogs have a slim chance of being adopted. Most people feel they don't want to adopt a dog who maybe has a year or two left to live.

But who's to guarantee how long any pet will live? A puppy can contract a disease. A young dog can be hit by a car. They don't come with a warranty. They all come with a guarantee of a friend that will love you forever.

They don't stop loving you as you get older and you shouldn't begrudge them the fact that they age faster than we do.

Please don't overlook the senior dogs. Don't look at it as if they only have a few years left. Just think that you can make their last years their happiest years - years of love from you and love from a senior dog that will be devoted to you until their last breath.

I leave you with this:
When I am old and grey
My step might be slower,
I may not hear as well,
I may not see as well,
I may not feel as well,

My love will be the same
My devotion will be the same,
My appreciation will be the same.
May heart and soul is grateful for all you have done and do..
When I am old and grey.

Peg Schaeffer, the writer, runs Sugar Farm Rescue, with one goal, she says. "I want to work myself out of a job. I'm hoping, one day, there won't be dogs and cats needing rescue."

Help for her mission is always appreciated. Here's contact information.
Peg Schaeffer
860 Sparksville Road
Columbia, KY 42728
Home telephone: 270-378-4521
Cell phone: 270-634-4675

This story was posted on 2013-01-20 04:41:17
Printable: this page is now automatically formatted for printing.
Have comments or corrections for this story? Use our contact form and let us know.

Twilight companions Dolly & Bodhi

2013-01-20 - Louisville, KY - Photo by Ms. Elizabeth Pike. Dolly's once sad eyes now have a different look, now that the black lab is the full time companion of Bodhi. They're enjoying a walk in the sun together, left; and sleeping, side by side right, in twin beds in Dolly's new home in Louisville, KY. Dolly's story was an especially moving one for Peg Schaeffer, who, over the years in rescue, remembers every dog's story as if each were a favorite child. Click on ReadMore for this twilight years romance
Read More... | Comments? | Click here to share, print, or bookmark this photo.

Happy Tail: Dolly, enjoying new home in Louisville, KY

2013-01-20 - Louisville, KY - Photo by Ms. Elizabeth Pike. Dolly, always a refined dog, now is a work of art, a beautiful senior dog, whose appearance is as elegant as her manners, thanks to the care at her new home, and the companionship she shares with companion Bodhi.
Read More... | Comments? | Click here to share, print, or bookmark this photo.


Quick Links to Popular Features

Looking for a story or picture?
Try our Photo Archive or our Stories Archive for all the information that's appeared on


Contact us: Columbia Magazine and are published by Linda Waggener and Pen Waggener, PO Box 906, Columbia, KY 42728.
Phone: 270.403.0017

Please use our contact page, or send questions about technical issues with this site to All logos and trademarks used on this site are property of their respective owners. All comments remain the property and responsibility of their posters, all articles and photos remain the property of their creators, and all the rest is copyright 1995-Present by Columbia Magazine. Privacy policy: use of this site requires no sharing of information. Voluntarily shared information may be published and made available to the public on this site and/or stored electronically. Anonymous submissions will be subject to additional verification. Cookies are not required to use our site. However, if you have cookies enabled in your web browser, some of our advertisers may use cookies for interest-based advertising across multiple domains. For more information about third-party advertising, visit the NAI web privacy site.