Meet Nena, the Newest Addition to the Woodfin-Mah Family!

Originally published on July 11th, 2016, at
Edited and republished at on March 10th, 2017.
Added to on October 30th, 2017.

She’s a Maltese, surrendered at about 13.5 years of age (which would make her the doggie equivalent of 67 or 68 human years, dependent upon which calculator/method you use). Someone shared a Facebook post about her on the 5th of this month. On the 8th, Linda and I went to Orange County Animal Care, adopted her, and brought her home.

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And our family has grown by one!

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Linda had never owned a dog before, ‘though she’s done plenty of dog-sitting. I grew up with dogs, but had never adopted a senior. We knew that Nena would have some medical issues — and she does: bad teeth, missing teeth, skin allergies, and a bad knee. Nena’s first vet visit as a member of our household also resulted in 3x/day pills to ease her kennel cough.

But imagine our surprise when we realized that Nena is housebroken, crate-trained, and doesn’t bark! Doggy parenting doesn’t get much easier than that!

Over the past few days, since we brought Nena home, I’ve watched my wife fall in love with the little dog. I like to tell Linda that her heart has grown three sizes. “Well, maybe not three,” she says. And she’s smiling when she says it.

Meanwhile, I’m less restless, more centered, and far more satisfied than I was before Nena came into our lives. Dogs will do that for you: They give you focus, purpose, and even a schedule. They aren’t just stabilizing influences; they’re grounding. Some of us need that more than others do, else we flit from thing to thing to thing. (See this blog’s category list. I’ve flitted a lot, of late.)

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Too much cuteness!

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Hat tip to Lisa Scarsi for sharing Nena’s story and pics on Facebook! Without Lisa’s willingness to share, Linda and I would have never known about Nena. We might never have transitioned from happily married with too much free time, to happily married fur mamas. Thanks, Lisa! 🙂

I don’t know the details of Nena’s back story. I was told at the shelter that Nena’s previous family surrendered her because they moved and couldn’t take her with them. I know that there’s a tendency to assume the worst of people who surrender their animals, for whatever reason. And while I do believe that judgment to be spot-on more often than not, I also know that people sometimes find themselves in desperate circumstances, that humans sometimes make stupid decisions, and that there really are cases where an animal might be better off at the county shelter than in some situations with their human families.

So, if Nena’s previous people are reading this, I want them to know that — regardless of the circumstances which led them to give her up — Nena is fed, loved, and taken care of. They don’t need to worry about her. She looks pretty happy in these pics, right? (And if they’re still worried, despite the obviously happy dog pics, they’re free to contact me via this site’s contact page.)

And the message for anyone else who is considering getting a dog: Adopting a dog — any dog — helps to make room for some other dog who needs the space. There are always more dogs than there are spaces.

Adopting a senior dog means that you might get lucky, like Linda and I did. And it might not.

In the end, what you’re giving up is the work, the energy, and some of the entertainment that comes with puppyhood. What you’re getting is the face in that last pic, above, and the love that goes with it.

And who can resist a face like that?