Old dogs are like an old favorite hoodie: comfortable. They might be a little worn around the seams, and a little out of shape, but they bring comfort like no other and they're always there when you need them most.
As an experienced foster, one of the very first things you prepare yourself for are behavioral issues associated with pain or discomfort, or just anxiety. Some dogs are in cars for days, others are flown using programs like "wings of hope" and others are just hand-me-downs who've been passed from person to person until eventually, someone cares enough to put an end to the "pass the hot potato" game. Not knowing how Gabe would respond to touch, or someone picking him up, we very gingerly walked him into the house. He, with some help, happily plopped himself into the bath tub, and so began the very long process of bathing and shaving his matted coat.
When we were done, the true condition of his body became very apparent. Not only were his hips and elbows riddled with stress sores from laying on concrete for prolonged periods of time, but his skeletal structure was far more visible than it should have been. It was evident that poor old Gabe was starving and so, so very arthritic.
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