Biggs is a senior dog with an unclear age. He’s thought to be 10 or older, but no one is sure. What is clear is that he ended up at a shelter, a tough fate for a pooch his age. He was saved from death row, though, and is spending what time he has left with a foster who’s filling his last days with happiness and adventure.
Biggs was pulled from a full shelter in southern Virginia, thanks to the Fredericksburg-based nonprofit One By One Deathrow Dog Rescue, which gives dogs set to be euthanized a second chance at life. For Biggs, suspected heart failure was ailing him. Though now, it seems he has advanced cancer and is approaching the end of his life. His condition has made tests difficult.
Despite the undetermined diagnosis, though, his time is limited, so his foster and he have set off on a bucket list adventure. That includes items like walking on the beach and seeing a sunset with some chicken nuggets, having a candlelit steak dinner, going to a pet store and picking out a treat, having a picnic in a pretty place, and being in the local paper.
The goal more than anything, though, is to give him all the love he has likely been lacking in his tough life.
While Biggs is having a wonderful last act, most senior dogs surrendered to shelters aren’t so lucky. According to the ASPCA, older dogs have only a 25% adoption rate, while younger pups are around 60%. It can also be jarring for an older animal to find themselves in a shelter when they were used to a particular home.
Chasity McFarland, One By One Deathrow Dog Rescue Director, says, “When you drop your senior dog off at a busy shelter, especially if they haven’t seen a vet in while or in a few years, and they have hidden under lying medical needs – it can cause them to come to a head in full force because of the immense stress and betrayal they are feeling.
“The dog you knew before you surrendered him/her, has now become very ill and has started withering away right before everyone’s eyes until, in most cases, it’s too late and the last thing they ever knew was limited interactions and a cold hard ground.”