Commentary: Plan ahead to avoid abandoned pets |

Commentary: Plan ahead to avoid abandoned pets

Susan Wallace
Special to The Union

What do Lil Girl, Red, Homer, Stan and Oso all have in common?

Each dog was abandoned by an owner with an unrealistic expectation that someone would adopt an older dog past his or her "prime."

Several had loving owners who died without a plan to care for their beloved pet, so a family member or neighbor took the dog to a local shelter and hoped for the best.

That leads to the purpose of this article: Please make concrete plans for when you are no longer able to care for your dog, cat or other family pet. Get a family member or friend's agreement to care for your beloved animal.

Leave written instructions where they can be easily found in case of an emergency situation.

Scooter's Pals has rescued a number of dogs that were taken to shelters because the animals' guardians had not gotten around to making plans.

Recommended Stories For You

Lil Girl's owner died. She was left all alone in the home and someone came by to give her food every few days. She is now in a Scooter's Pals foster home, thriving and happy.

Stan was left to die at the Stockton shelter by someone who didn't want to be bothered by an old chow/shepherd mix who was slow to get up and down, but not ready to leave this world quite yet.

He died after living his last eight months with a woman who, with her dogs, was his everything.

Red was left tied to a tree in front of the Sacramento County shelter one rainy, cold, winter night.

A shelter volunteer called me and said, "If I bring him in here, he'll never make it to the adoption floor because he's an older dog and blind."

Red lived out his last year in a Scooter's Pals foster home and gave as much joy as he was given by this lovely family.

Homer's owner died of cancer last year without plans for him; his ex-wife found us by sheer luck.

A wonderful retired woman in Nevada City carpeted her wooden floors so this old chow can easily traverse her stairs to sleep with her and her other dog each night. He is happy and doing well.

Oso is in a forever foster home in Nevada County with a wonderful family who cares for him and loves him. A Scooter's Pals benefactor will cover his vet bills for the remainder of his sweet senior life.

These senior dogs are the lucky ones. Scooter's Pals saved them from death row and placed each one in a loving foster home until we could find a solid forever home.

Each of these dogs is proof that saving older dogs is possible, even while helping less challenged, younger dogs get out alive and into good homes.

Many dogs don't find a Scooter's Pals, and their fate is not a good one.

You can change that for your own pet. Give this issue some thought, reach out to your family and close friends who know how much your animal means to you.

Susan Wallace, retired attorney and founder of Scooter's Pals, drafted many victim rights statutes and stronger criminal law statutes during her professional career. Scooter's Pals, an all-volunteer dog rescue, has saved more than 1,800 dogs from death since 2008. Find out more about Scooter's Pals at or Contact Susan Wallace to learn more about fostering a pet, donating to the nonprofit organization or helping in other ways, at 530-350-2099.

Go back to article