Photo and story submitted by Kristin

I adopted Jake from an animal control facility in September 2014. He was on the urgent list and had run out of time. He was at least 10 years old. I had visited Jake a few times. When he was taken out of his cage, he just wiggled with happiness–his stubby tail wagging away–and melted into me. He knew basic commands. I could tell from his appearance (pot belly, hair loss) that he probably had Cushing's disease, something I was very familiar with from my previous dog.  I told myself after losing two dogs to cancer recently, I should be looking at healthier dogs to give myself a break emotionally and financially. My heart overruled my common sense, though, as I could not get Jake off my mind. I could not let this sweet soul die alone in a shelter. He deserved to live out his life in a happy, safe, home. So, on September 18, 2014, he came home with me.

Jake has been an absolute joy during the eight months I have had him. He gets along with my other dog, Henry, and my cat. He gets along with everyone, actually, human or animal, and makes friends wherever he goes. He does have Cushing's, and in December 2014 I found out he also had a massive liver tumor. I was told he wouldn't make it to the New Year.  After seeing several specialists and accepting it was inoperable, I decided to make each day simply the best I could for him.  

Five months later, after being on a holistic/integrative health plan and homemade diet, he is still with me.  He has a full coat of hair and is hanging in there, despite his liver cancer worsening. Jake has traveled, goes boating, walks every day, loves to play ball, has family/friends/neighbors of mine who love him, and has experienced so many other activities. 

Despite his health challenges, Jake is the most joyous dog I have ever had. His tail never stops wagging.  He is happy from morning to night. His health is declining more rapidly now, but his spirit and attitude never do.  I call him "Tenacious J".  A desire to enjoy his happy life in a secure and loving home simply overrules any illness he has. Jake handles his health challenges with pride, determination and a willingness to love every minute of every day.  He is living and loving his life to the fullest. Jake has taught me the valuable lesson that each day is a blessing, that I too must slow down and enjoy the moment.  

I hope that Jake has inspired others to consider adopting seniors.  I don't think I can do it any other way from now on.  I am so very grateful to have had him as long as I have. Though our time together will be short in duration, our love, laughter and joy has been immeasurable and is everlasting. Thank you, Jake, for bringing me so much happiness and teaching me so many important lessons.  I love you with all my heart, little man.

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