Motley was a very special dog. He was the very first rescue I ever accepted. I had such high hopes for him when I took him in. I didn't yet know the cold, cruel realities of rescue. Even if I had, I still would have accepted him, but perhaps with a more realistic expectation of how he would leave my care.
Motley was a wreck when I took him in. At 38 pounds, he was barely capable of moving himself. At 13 years of age, he was far beyond the age that most homes will consider for adoption. Still "intact" at the time he came in, our vet refused to neuter him until he lost some weight. Fortunately, the solution was simple: "Feed him according to what he should weigh. Soon enough, that's what he will weigh."
As the pounds melted off Motley, his activity levels improved, his eyes took on a new sparkle and he began showing the love of life that I now see in all the seniors I've ever cared for. Except for his age, Motley was a perfect pet for adoption. Sadly, no one ever asked about providing a home for him. "Too old", I was told, over and over and over again.
Motley remained with me for 3 years, when an aggressive and untreatable cancer took him away from my care at age 16. I cared for him for as long as I could be certain he was comfortable and when that certainty was no longer in my mind, I held him gently in my arms while skilled hands granted him the boon of eternal rest.
My little 38 pound, 13 year old rescue had left as a 16 year old, 16 pound dog and took with him a part of my heart. To this day, I tear up when thinking about all the dreams I had for him and how absolutely none of them ever came to pass. Except for one. He left this world knowing that he was loved.