I am very sorry to say that Buddha passed away earlier this week. I took Buddha home for hospice care from Pets Alive Westchester in Elmsford, NY after she developed leukemia. When I took her home she was in such poor shape that I did not think she would live for two weeks, but she put on weight, responded well to medication, and got two and a half great months with me where she thoroughly enjoyed living in a home and loved living with myself and my other dogs.
Buddha was quiet, affectionate and well behaved. She liked other dogs and she very much enjoyed the company of people. In July Pets Alive Westchester hosted an Introduction to Canine Hospice seminar and Buddha came along as the demo dog. She was perfectly happy walking the room, exploring, meeting people and kissing them.
Buddha was 14 years old when I took her home and she had been in a shelter since she was 8 months old. At the time of her intake, that shelter was known as the Elmsford Animal Shelter, and they took in many more animals than they could handle. Some, like Buddha, were never given a chance for adoption because they were erroneously judged to be dog aggressive, or because they were pit bull type dogs, or because they simply got lost in the shuffle of so many animals.
Two years ago Pets Alive took over that shelter and renamed it Pets Alive Westchester. When they took it over, there were over 700 dogs in the facility – more than 3 times what it was designed to hold. Through aggressive adoption promotion, by January of this year that number had dropped to 200. Today it is fewer than 100 dogs still left over from the old Elmsford Animal Shelter who they call the legacy dogs, all of whom have been there for at least two years and most for many, many more.
Some are elderly. A few are sickly. Many have absolutely nothing wrong with them and never have – all they need is someone to come take them home.
Pets Alive Westchester is determined to see these dogs adopted. Will you step up for one of them? Many have their adoptions fees heavily discounted or are free to adopt. Medical fosters are available for hospice and dogs in need of ongoing medical care where Pets Alive Westchester will pay veterinary costs, and the Introduction to Hospice seminar will be repeated in the fall to help give people the resources they need to give some of these animals who need it the most a real, proper home – some of them for the first time in a decade or more.
The cuddly and affectionate April. The loving and active Carli. Dog play group superstar and all around goofball Pearl. The relaxed, regal, and dog-friendly Tony. And my favorite, the beautiful, loving, affectionate and tolerant Star, who has stepped into Ginger’s role as the shelter’s Greeter of Dogs and First Playmate.
All of them incredible animals who have been trapped in a shelter for years through no fault of their own. Won’t you come meet one?
It’s what Buddha would want.