For eight and half years, Chief the Alaskan Malamute had lived with his loving owner. And when his master sadly passed away at home, Chief stayed right by his side for four days until a member of the family arrived at the house. Poor Chief had cataracts, and the family was unable to give him the care he needed, so they took him to the pound and the wonderful people at AMRAA (Alaskan Malamute Rehoming Aid Australia) came to rescue Chief.
Through selling raffle tickets, AMRAA raised enough money to pay for Chief’s cataract surgery, and enabled him to see again. He was promptly listed on the PetRescue website for adoption or ‘forever foster’.*
Enter retired seniors Margaret and Arthur.
“Our life was feeling pretty empty. Our kids had grown up and moved away. We could no longer go travelling in our caravan. With little to talk about, we would get up every morning with our aches and pains, feeling pretty miserable.
“We had thought of getting a dog, but because our heart had been broken before when our dogs passed, we did not want to go there! Then, one day, I went for coffee with a dear friend who was fostering dogs for a local rescue. I came home and talked to my partner, and we decided there was no harm in looking into it.
“I must mention, before I continue, that our previous dogs were all very small lap dogs. So we were surprised to find ourselves drawn to this massive Malamute named Chief!
“At first, we were a little put off by the idea of administering eye drops daily. So we looked at another dog named Nina and decided to drive up to High Tails Lodge and have a look. When we arrived, Nina had been adopted, but Chief was still there.
“They brought Chief out to meet us and this very large dog came straight over to me, put his head against me and closed his eyes. So that was the moment we decided we would foster Chief and arranged to picked him up the following week.
“We didn’t get much sleep that week. All we could think about was this very large dog that we were going to bring home, at our age! A whole mix of feelings came bubbling up - excitement, fear, apprehension. Then we remembered that Chief had not had an easy time and was probably feeling the same way. But the one thing we did not know at the time was that our big boy Chief had so much love to give and all he wanted in return was to be loved.
“I’m not saying that for the first few weeks we didn't wonder if we had done the right thing. Chief was a very proud alpha dog, with some unwanted behaviours, but instead of getting cross with him, we just showed him heaps of love and gave him plenty of cuddles. Two months later, we have earned his trust and all those unwanted behaviours have gone.
“With Chief around, we never run out of things to talk about. And we know our day is going to be filled with unconditional love and laughter.
“Chief is nine years old now and, hopefully, we will grow old together. But we will cherish each day.
“We feel blessed to have been given the chance to ‘Forever Foster’ this beautiful dog that has enriched our lives and made us feel fulfilled again. And I am hoping that, by sharing our story, other seniors will be inspired to help a pet who desperately needs love.
“There are so many pets, just like Chief, that are waiting to be loved and to feel safe. And, when you think about it, we all want this.
“If you are in your senior years and feel a bit lonely and sad that life is passing you by, then think about giving a home to one of these pets that are just waiting to help you and love you.
“Our big, beautiful Chief has certainly made a huge difference to our lives.”
Margaret and Arthur.
*The Forever Foster option is only offered by some rescue groups in very rare cases when a senior pet requires ongoing specialist treatment. This gives pets like Chief the best chance of finding love - so if the right family comes along (like Margaret and Arthur) but can’t afford to pay for the pet’s treatment - the rescue group will cover those ongoing costs.
Seniors have so much unconditional love to give. Start your search today for senior dogs or senior cats.