By Eve Marx
For Cannon Beach Gazette
When we moved to the north coast nearly four years ago, we brought with us Basil, an older Lhasa Apso, and Rinaldo, an elderly Chihuahua. Basil was what I call a pet shop rescue; at six months old, he was too big for the pet shop window and he’d been bought and returned twice. His future was uncertain, not to mention he was born crippled. Rinaldo we rescued from a shelter back east. Ten years old at the time of the adoption, he was scrawny and mostly toothless. At the Brooklyn shelter where he was an owner surrender, he was put on the euthanasia list.
By the time we arrived on the north coast and moved into our rental, Rinaldo was nearly blind. He was well into his teens, and while he’d gained a little weight, cataracts had turned his eyes a ghostly white. Except to do his business, he rarely went outside. He didn’t enjoy walks anymore, but he liked lying in the sun. He memorized the new furniture arrangement and found his way around.
A year and a half ago we moved into our own home. Again, it was a challenge for Rinaldo to learn where things were. He memorized the back yard, although he often couldn’t find his way back inside the house. He knew where his bed was, but eventually couldn’t find the water bowl. Although he rarely ventured off the front stoop, he had two great summers basking in the sun. Three weeks ago more things started breaking down for him, and I made the decision to help him out of this world. We brought him to Bayshore Animal Hospital in Warrenton where everyone is very kind.
Imagine my surprise a few days ago to learn a friend of mine made a donation to Clatsop Animal Assistance in Rinaldo’s name. I received a letter from Linda Dygert, informing me of the donation. The mission of Clatsop Animal Assistance is to give every domestic animal coming into the Clatsop County Animal Shelter their best chance at adoption. The organization is 100 percent run by volunteers who provide medical services, promotion, and adoption support to the animals housed in the Warrenton shelter. Every dime of every donation goes to the care, promotion, and adoption of shelter pets. The letter about the donation included a photo of a very old poodle girl who required medical attention and received it from CAA. “She has a great home with people who will be able to provide her with a great life,” Dygert wrote. I could see from the picture attached the poodle is probably blind.
A friend reminded me how rare it is for people to adopt really old dogs. Everyone wants a puppy, or at least something young. But I can attest there is a lot to be said for adopting seniors. Rinaldo was a daily reminder of the power of perseverance. In the face of cruel infirmity, he was feisty and fearless.If you love animals and are interested in their welfare, consider a donation to Clatsop Animal Assistance. They do selfless and tireless work providing medical care to shelter cats and dogs who otherwise might not get adopted.For more information about CAA, log on to www.dogsncats.org or call (503) 861-0737. CAA is open from noon to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. CAA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit Oregon corporation.