Martin, the “sweet senior boy who loves blankets” (as he was known at the Miami Dade Animal Shelter) got adopted within 12 days of his rescue from doggie death row. It’s amazing and such a gift he got adopted so fast, because he’s struggling with obesity, and he’s about nine-years-old.
Martin walks and trotts like a chubby, happy dog with a youthful vibrance and curiosity despite his age and weight though. He sniffs like a cartoon coonhound, and he loves everyone like a Beagle. He exudes the wisdom of an old soul, but with the softest velvety ears that droop next to his angelic old eyes and snoopy-like face. Plus he doesn’t bark, except sometimes when he dreams, then he barks soft barks. He’s calm and confident without an air of arrogance. He’s peaceful, even when around fearful animals.
I was lucky enough to be asked to foster Martin by Fluff Animal Rescue in Seminole who orchestrated his last minute life-saving release. I had never fostered before, so I was a little nervous, especially because we have a crazy cat. I had to make a quick decision. I had always wanted to foster older dogs, because they are usually more calm, potty-trained, and I’ve always rooted for the under-dog so to speak. Old dogs are often overlooked, and undervalued. I believe they deserve a great life in their final years.
His calmness was the perfect energy for my cat. Watching his non-reactive, zenful ways towards other animal’s fears is inspiring. Monks spend years in meditation trying to learn what comes natural to Martin.
I was taking Martin on one of his daily walks to help him lose weight, when Isme Gorham, age 9, and her friend stopped and asked to pet him. It was love at first sight! I told her that he’s up for adoption, and needs a home. She said she’d love to bring Martin home, but wasn’t sure if her family would be ready as they were still mourning the loss of their dog that had to be euthanized due to old age a few months back. They had recently lost a cat too due to blood clots.
I didn’t really expect to hear back from the Isme’s family. The next day I said a prayer while walking Martin that he get adopted to a loving family. I had a message from the family when we came back from the walk, from the girl’s parents asking about Martin. I was happy, but surprised.
They were a little hesitant, but wanted to meet Martin. They not only fell in love with Martin, but they felt it was right. There were so many signs, and coincidences that the union felt divinely led, or at least serendipitous. This sweet little girl inspired life long love for Martin, who deserves a loving home in his final chapter. The Gorham’s of St. Pete are an incredible family, and get to experience the gift of Martin Waffles (his new name) incredible kindness. Knowing Martin, I’m sure it’s going to be immense.
“I think it was that we had space, and love, and could offer him something,” Siobhan Gorham, his new adoptee mom said. We weren't really looking for a dog. We wouldn't have wanted a puppy, he seemed great because he was past the wild phase, and was calm and sweet and friendly, and what our older family needed. I think if we didn't adopt him we would have regretted it."
I thank Fluff Animal Rescue, the people who drove him from Miami to save him, and the Gorham family that looked past age, and weight, to love a dog that’s so incredibly sweet of full of love to give back. I wish more older dogs were adopted, as they deserve peace in their final years. They are typically calmer, trained, and can be so much easier than a puppy. Although I love puppies too. I love them all.
I strive be more like Martin Waffles, who I think of as the Buddhist Monk dog that needed absolutely no training. He has so much to teach us and to give. I’m glad he’s got that chance.
Photos and story by Amber Sigman, his once-foster-mom.