It is not an easy proposition finding a home for a nine year old dog.  Everytime we do, I can't help thinking that the adoption is a sheer miracle.  And, I think that it takes very special people to open their hearts to a senior dog...and to appreciate that her best years may still be in front of her.
And so, when we first posted Jilly on our website, we were not sure of her prospects.  I was pleased to hear from Elaine and Dave of New Hampshire, who were willing to open their hearts and homes to this darling girl.  The only caveats were two beloved cats. 

Dave and Elaine had tried adoption once before with our Dino, but that irrascible little boy just would not leave the cats alone.  It is tough for us to predict cat-dog behavior, but in Dino's case, it just seemed that his anti-cat attention was getting a bit dangerous.  And so, Elaine and Dave returned Dino to us, and we were able to find him a cat-free home.

That left the door open for Jilly. When Elaine first called to express interest in Jilly, I was thrilled.  We were hoping that a nine year old girl would have enough sense to let the cats live in peace....and after several months of concentrated training, Jilly agreed to cooperate.  We were so happy...and this first report from Elaine just made our 2004 Christmas!

November 8, 2004
Hi Denise,
Here's a picture of Jilly with her friend Harley.  It's hunting country around here, so our dogs have to wear their safety vests.
We're still working on the cat issues.  This week we contacted a behaviorist.  Dave calls her a doggie shrink.  She has us working with the gentle leader collar and with pheromones for both the dog and the cats, to help keep things calm.  She's given us some good tips on working the issue, and we'll be working with her for a while.  Wish us luck.
We took Jilly to the groomer for the first time on Tuesday.  She came out looking great, but the groomer says she never wants to do her again.  It seems Jilly bit the groomer twice, didn't break the skin, just warning bites.  The groomer did recommend another local groomer who comes to your house with her grooming van and does the grooming right there in your driveway.  We'll try her next time, hoping there will be less stress when Jilly doesn't have to wait around in a cage with other dogs nearby.
For the most part, Jilly has been just great, so we are really working those cat issues and hoping it all works out.

December 19, 2004
Hi Denise,
Jilly is doing great!  It's taken a long time, but we finally believe that Jilly can live with the cats.  She is now walking freely around the house most of the time, and hasn't chased, lunged at, or growled at either of the cats.  We've been working with a behaviorist who teaches calm, firm leadership.  For quite some time we didn't feel we were making much progress, but gradually Jilly became more accustomed to the cats, and her behavior toward them has steadily improved.  She is also in good physical condition.  She had minor surgery yesterday to remove an infected tooth, and to remove that ugly wart near her eye.  Her pre-surgery blood tests came out very well.  She is really a very sweet dog, friendly with everyone except the groomer.  So! someone recommended another groomer who will come to our home with her grooming van, and groom Jilly right there in our driveway.  It seems she's good with difficult dogs.  We're going to try it for her next grooming in January.  We'll just make sure she puts on a muzzle as soon as we hand Jilly over to her, and doesn't take off the muzzle until Jilly is back in our hands.  Jilly really hates being groomed. 
Thanks again for bringing Jilly into our lives.  We really do enjoy her.
We wish you a Merry Christmas, and a happy, healthy new year.
Elaine and Dave

February 18, 2005

Hi Denise,

I just wanted to let you know that Jilly is doing very well.  She has really come a long way in learning to get along with the cats.  Most of the time she just trys to ignore them.  We still exercise caution when they are all roaming around the house, but we aren't really worried about it anymore.  We worked with a really good behaviorist who taught us how to calmly train Jilly. We have learned so much in the past few months from the trainer who first taught us basic obedience and then from the behaviorist who helped us work out the cat and dog problems.  You are so right when you say that dog owners can solve their problems and keep their dog if they just work with the experts and give it some time and effort.  We feel so much better equipped to deal with a dog now.  Jilly is ten years old, and we don't really know how long she will be around.  We hope it's a long time,  and it may well be, since she is in good health! and still very active.  We had no qualms about adopting a senior dog, and it has worked out very well for all of us.  



March 9, 2005

Hi Denise,

It's not often I get a chance to take a picture of Jilly with one of the cats, so I thought I'd take the opportunity to send you this one.  Jilly was lying on the floor eating her Greenie, which she has every day after dinner, as recommended by our vet.  Marty was lying in the corner just about a foot and a half away, and they just paid no attention to each other.  Jilly is always very mellow when she has her Greenie.

Jilly continues to do very well, and her behavior with the cats is constantly improving.  She usually ignores them unless one of them gets right in her face.  If it's Marty, she'll quickly retreat, since she is afraid of him, and with good reason.  His paws are quicker than Jilly's jaws.  If Banjo, our smaller cat, gets in her face, it's more of a problem.  She'll usually try to ignore it, but occassionally she will still snap at Banjo.  We have to be on the alert to keep Banjo from going right up to Jilly and sniffing her.  Banjo is not too bright.  Of course when Jilly does snap, we quickly reprimand her, send her to her crate, and she does understand.  Most of the time, Jilly and the cats wander around the house together with no problems.  This is a huge improvement over the way she was when she first came to us, and we are very pleased.

We'd like to thank you again for bringing Jilly into our lives.  For a ten year old dog, she is quite active and loves to go for long walks.  We are looking forward to the warmer weather so that we can walk more and she can get reacquainted with her friend Harley, the nine year old Golden Retriever.  We tend to be pretty isolated in the winter up here, because the roads aren't really safe enough to walk very far, with no sidewalks and lots of snow.  Jilly has her own fenced in section of yard, so she gets enough exercise, but she does really enjoy the walks.  We know it's also important to keep her socialized with other dogs and people, so we will definitely get back into the walks where we meet lots of people and dogs, just as soon as the weather improves.

I 'm constantly checking your website, so I see you've found homes for lots of beautiful Eskies in the past few months.  Your dedication to these dogs is amazing, Denise.  I don't know how you do it, but I'm glad you do.  Please let Dianne know that Jilly is doing very well, and I'll stay in touch. 


July 7, 2007

Hi Denise,

Dave and I were browsing through your site today and just thought we'd give you an update on Jilly.  It's been 2 and 1/2 years now since Jilly came to us, and we're still so happy to have her.  As you can see from the enclosed picture, she now gets along very well with her cat "brother and sister".  It took a little effort to get her trained to accept the cats, but it's been a huge success!  Jilly is now 13, and still doing very well.  Her old arthritic legs aren't quite as spry as they used to be, so we now have a ramp to help her get into the car, this because a few months ago she banged her knee getting in, and the vet was afraid the knee was broken.  That would have been a real disaster at her age, but fortunately it was just badly bruised, and a week on heavy arthritis pain meds did the trick.

We will soon be moving from our home here to our new condo in town.  It took some searching to find a place we really like that had a pet policy allowing us to keep the animals-especially Jilly.  We found the ideal place, but we had to spend a few weeks negotiating with the builder, sending along pics of Jilly to show that she isn't a big dog.  We finalized in March, so we, Jilly and the cats are now officially condo owners.  We won't move in until our house is sold, but visit the condo often, and Jilly has met some of the other dogs there.  There is a little Min pin there who reminds me so much of your little one.  I think Jilly is afraid of her, because the little thing barks so much at her.  It will take some adjusting for all of us, but we're sure we'll be happy there.

We hope all is well with you.  Your site looks great-the dogs are beautiful.  Have a great summer.

Elaine and Dave

March 8, 2008

Hi Denise,

We just want to let you know that we have settled down in our new condo, and Jilly is doing just fine.  She has adjusted well to her new surroundings and really appreciates all the complements on her beauty from the other residents.  Not bad for a 14 year old dog!  Jilly is still in good health.  Can't believe we've had her for three and a half years now.  When we adopted her as an elderly dog, we really weren't sure how long we'd have her, but were just happy to have a nice older dog who is a little more laid back than a younger Eskie would be.  We'd  love to see Jilly's story in your 'ADOPTED DOGS' section, because we think it might help to encourage others to take a chance on an older dog.  We know you get older dogs now and then, and it's not easy to find homes for them.  Jilly is a wonderful dog.  She still has plenty of energy and all the typical Eskie charm.  Age is just a number!  As you can see in the picture, she and the cats are quite comfortable together.  It took a little work in the beginning, but it was well worth the effort.  Thank you again for bringing this wonderful dog to our family.

Dave and Elaine Collins