A once abandoned north Phoenix senior dog has set out to raise awareness for older dogs everywhere, by embarking on a single bucket list agenda – to collect 1000 hugs during her golden years.
Gertie’s Facebook page – “1000 Hugs for Gertie” was recently created by her adoptive human mom, Kate Goodhart, to help Gertie in her mission – “A single Bucket List agenda for an old lady who wants to promote the magic of old dogs everywhere, Gertie loves meeting new people, but due to her size and obvious age, people have a tendency to look right through her.”
Ms. Goodhart took in Gertie, and Pablo, Gertie’s four-legged companion, in June of 2014, when the two dogs were found abandoned, tied to a tree, in the middle of the Arizona summer heat, at a McDonald’s. A Facebook post was circulating about her plight, but no one had stepped up to help the two distraught pooches – so, Ms. Goodhart’s spouse found the two dogs and rescued them. It was 107 degrees outside.
Although Gertie was considered adoptable by the Goodharts and they endeavored to find her a loving home, (her Chihuahua mix sidekick, Pablo – a “biter” – was not adoptable, so it was decided he would stay nearly from day one), her advanced age (12 years old when she was rescued) and large size proved to be an obstacle to finding adopters:
“They see cute, cuddly and bouncy, but are blind to older, calmer and loving,” writes Ms. Goodhart on the Facebook page.
The Goodharts made the final decision to keep Gertie safe and loved forever in October of 2014, when her veterinarian advised, due to Gertie’s various ailments – severe arthritis, muscle-wasting, abdominal masses, to name a few – that the Goodharts let her go. They decided not only would they not put her to sleep, but they would not be adopting her out to anyone. She was going to be a Goodhart for the rest of her life.
Not only did Gertie blossom as a permanent member of the Goodhart family, at their property that they call “Run a Muck Ranch,” but Gertie’s health improved considerably, and the Goodharts have hope that she has a couple of good years left in her.
Gertie, now 14 years old, wants to help senior dogs everywhere, by proving that big, old dogs have a lot to offer too, not just the younger pups, and deserve a loving home for the months or years they have left. So many senior dogs are surrendered to shelters or abandoned because owners don’t have the capacity or patience to care for an older animal’s needs or simply because they want a younger pet. Sometimes senior dogs end up homeless because their humans have died, leaving them without a caretaker. Whatever the case, these dogs are often euthanized because they are not adoptable due to health issues, behavioral issues, and/or the fact that not many people want an old dog, and they are passed over constantly.
“Let’s face it, Gertie doesn’t have much time left. In that time, I want her to have as many experiences of what makes her happiest: Meeting new people and being hugged by everyone she meets… If along the way she happens to clear the blind spots people have for older dogs, all the better.” ~Kate Goodhart
So far, sweet Gertie has collected 38 hugs, and is determined to make it to the 1000 mark. Gertie and her humans will travel for hugs anywhere in the North Valley (Gertie can’t take long car rides, due to her arthritis). If you are having a gathering of any kind, and would like to invite Gertie to collect hugs at your event, or just to get a hug from you, your family or your friends, please contact Kate Goodhart at 602-920-5866. Gertie does not ask for anything but hugs – no donations of any kind – just hugs!
Let’s help Gertie make her golden years count – with 1000 hugs for the plight of senior dogs!
Follow her on Facebook, and help spread the word about her mission: https://www.facebook.com/1000HugsForGertie/
“Blessed is the person who has earned the love of an old dog.” ~Sydney Jeanne Seward