Two elderly dogs ages 15 and 20 become unexpected friends

Nora, a 15-year-old Great Dane, didn’t get along with other dogs so her owner, Deb Kuehl stopped fostering. But when she finally agreed to take in 20-year-old Gertie, Nora fell in love.

"Nora doesn’t usually like new dogs," Kuehl said about Nora, a dog she took in as a hospice foster dog five years ago.

Kuehl helped nurse Nora back to better health and, five years later, she’s been adopted into their family.

Kuehl had stopped fostering dogs because of Nora’s distaste for outsiders. But when Kuehl heard there was a 20-year-old Shepherd mix that needed a place to stay for a few weeks, she decided to give it a try.

"When I agreed to temp foster Gertie, I thought I would have to separate Nora," said Kuehl.

But Nora had other plans. She didn’t want to leave Gertie’s side and cried when they were apart. The two have been inseparable since.

"She feels like it’s her job to watch after Gertie, so she’s almost always laying by Gertie’s side," Kuehl said.

One of the reasons Kuehl felt compelled to look after Gertie is because Secondhand Hounds, the organization Kuehl works with and fosters for, has been experiencing a lack of foster families willing to take in dogs of all kinds.

"It’s just really crazy and so different from what we were dealing with in August of 2020," Rachel Mairose, the Executive Director and Founder of Secondhand Hounds said.

Mairose says during the height of the pandemic, dozens of families signed up to take in foster dogs. They were home, they couldn’t travel and were looking for companions. In the past few months though, she says that’s changed.

"People are now traveling and enjoying the freedoms they finally have after a year and a half so fostering isn’t high on their list of things to do," Mairose said.

She says they’re in need of families and individuals to sign up for their foster dog program to help rescue dogs from bad situations and give them a shot at being adopted. She says, they’re also looking for hospice care fosters, a job that she says, isn’t for everyone, but is extremely rewarding.

"I always call our hospice fosters superheroes, they are literally angels on earth," Mairose said.

For more information on how you can become a foster parent with Secondhand Hounds click here.