Marty, a 15-year-old Collie/Aussie Mix, was found alone in his home after his owner passed away. The owner’s sister said she would take him but then kept him outside in the cold. A neighbor of the deceased woman offered to take Marty and then contacted Top Dog Foundation.

Marty, or “Martini” or “Super Mart” as I fondly referred to him, was incredibly sweet, demanding little except attention. He had not been neutered and developed incontinence. Marty had a very large mass in his groin and upon testing it was determined he had an enlarged prostate. I did not want to neuter a 15 year-old dog but after a veterinary consultation we thought that would take care of the incontinence. Surgery went well and he recovered like a champ but the leaking did not stop. Upon further testing we determined that he also had Cushing’s.

The plan was initially to put Marty up for adoption thinking this sweet old guy will be snatched up quickly but we could not find an adopter to deal with expensive medicine to treat the Cushing’s and his leakage, which continued to progress requiring frequent bathing and daily cleaning and multiple diaper changes. So Marty stayed with me and my Sheltie gang. He had a great last chapter of life, playing at Top Dog Country Club every day and getting the attention he so craved, in my home at night. He loved to run and chase in the back yard and would try to keep up with his Sheltie pack.

In August 2015 Marty began losing weight. Blood work showed a perfectly healthy dog but my experience with many dogs, senior dogs, and a vast array of illnesses told me different. I scheduled an ultra-sound which revealed tumors in his abdomen, liver, and spleen.

The decision was made to say goodbye to Marty and true to the mission of Top Dog Foundation, he left us . . . In my arms . . . The arms of someone that loved him.

I am asked all the time, “How can you take in these senior dogs when you know they won’t live very long?” My answer is “How can I not?” Marty had a great 10 months that he would not have had under different circumstances. There is something so incredible about rescued dogs and seniors in particular. They are grateful for life, for loyalty and compassion and they reciprocate with unconditional love every day.

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