Honoring Gertie

Gertie came into our lives in 2009. She was found in Indiana as a stray and taken to a high kill shelter. The shelter manager couldn’t bear to euthanize Gertie, so she contacted several rescues in hope of finding her a safe place to go.

The rescue that accepted her as a foster was the one we were volunteering for at the time. Gertie made the trip from Indiana and was placed in a foster home near Auburn, NY. She was there about 2 weeks, when we received a call that the foster family could not handle her. She would not stop biting and they asked if we would take her.

We agreed thinking “How bad could this be? She is an old dog, approximately 10 to 12 years old.” Her foster family dropped her in a crate at the end of our driveway and sped away.

We carried the crate in the house opened it and waited for her to come out. Out she came with a vengeance, snarling and grunting, warning everyone to stay away. We were surprised at her appearance, overweight, very bad teeth, breathing labored and gray around her face.

We contacted our Vet immediately. We needed to find out what was wrong with her. We tried to handle her with very little success. She would not stop biting and both of us were bit several times. With very heavy gloves we managed to get her to the Vet. Her prognosis was not good.

Gertie had an enlarged liver and heart with a beat that was irregular. She needed to lose at least 5 lbs. Our Vet also told us that she was older than the shelter estimated. She was most likely 17 years old. With this news, she became a sanctuary dog never to be adopted and would live with us the rest of her life.

Gertie was a mean old coot; she would nip every chance she got. We knew there was a good dog in there somewhere. We thought about what to do for her and how to handle her for several days.

One night Foster Dad Ed decided to stay up all night with her and just hold her on his lap. She struggled for several hours to get free, with Ed telling her over and over she would be ok and would never have to be angry again. He promised her he would always take care of her. She finally relinquished, and from that night on she was his shadow.

Gertie was a valued part of our family and many times looked after new puppies we brought into rescue. Gertie lost weight but would never recover from her other problems.

In February of 2012 Gertie lost her battle and crossed over the Rainbow Bridge. In May of 2012 we opened a new rescue in honor of her fighting spirit and determination to live life on her terms.