Phyllis came to ODH with a very large sarcoma on her back and a smaller mast cell tumor on her right hip. A couple weeks after coming home with me, Phyllis had both tumors removed.  It was a pretty major surgery – Phyllis looked like a magician’s saw-a-dog-in-half trick gone wrong, and she came home with over 30 staples across the middle of her back.

In the words of our groomer, when Phyllis had her tumor, “her self-esteem was suffering”, because nobody wanted to pet her.  She’s so much more comfortable now, and everyone wants to meet and pet her.  She’s a beautiful dog, and she’s making so many friends now!

Phyllis was also significantly overweight when she arrived and panted heavily after any exercise at all.  Thanks to a prescription diet and strict portion control at home, she’s lost the extra weight and has so much more energy!  She just lives for walks.

Phyllis has the standard old-dog stiffness once in a while, and we’ll always have to keep an eagle eye out for a cancer relapse, but she’s on no medications, which is remarkable for an 11-year-old dog.

Phyllis lives to go on walks and meet people.  Phyllis loves walks more than anything – as many walks as you can fit into a day is okay with her!  She’s so much more happy and playful now and even loves to wrestle with the young dogs at the dog park.  Everyone says hello to her and tells her what a beautiful, well-behaved dog she is.

Phyllis is on a pretty strict diet, so she doesn’t get many treats.  She had to learn to like things like baby carrots and pieces of broccoli, but now she loves them.  Her favorite “treat”, though, is her fish oil capsules.  She won’t start on her dinner until her pill hits the bowl, and that’s the first thing she eats.

Phyllis hops around like an excited sheep when she’s happy.  When it’s time to go for a walk or for a ride in the car, she runs up and down the ramp to the back yard until I get her leash on her. She gives great hugs and is full of joy.  I’ve had some very clingy dogs, and she’s perfectly content to nap while I go to the store or ride my bike. Having Phyllis is almost like having my beloved Hardy back – a quiet, easygoing soul who’s just happy to go along with whatever we’re doing today.

Dogs need a pack, and they need to know that someone loves them.  In addition to the removal of her tumors, Phyllis has gotten a loving home and her own little pack.  She’ll never again have to suffer or be neglected, and her every need will be taken care of.  She can tell that she’s loved and that she’s safe in her final refuge home – forever. Anytime I introduce my fosters as “Old Dog Haven forever fosters”, people have heard of all the great things that ODH does for senior dogs, and they just love talking about how much they love old dogs and wish they could help.

Without Old Dog Haven donors and supporters, it would be impossible to save so many sweet old souls.  The dogs that ODH helps have some of the highest needs and can be very expensive to help.  Donors make it possible to give these old pups the care and love they need, without cost being an obstacle.  So many old dogs become homeless because their owners don’t have the ability – financially or emotionally – to give them what they need, and Old Dog Haven is there for them.

Update:  After a wonderfully long time with her Final Refuge family, Phyllis’s health failed and she passed away quite suddenly.  Dear Phyllis truly blossomed in her new home and lived her best life after going through some very tough times.  She will be greatly missed, and her mom is so grateful to have shared her life with this loving pup.

Tumor before surgery

Phyllis after surgery, healing up

Enjoying her new pack mate

Exploring the water