Omar is a 13 year-old Maltese/Poodle mix. He came to Lake Shore (for the second time!) in early June of last year. If any dog can be said to have had a few "bumps" in life, it was Omar. Abandoned at a young age, Omar bounced around from home to home for several years. It always seemed that just as he was getting "settled-in," something would happen and his owners would be forced to give him up.
On top of everything else, from about the age of one, Omar began to slowly go deaf. Despite numerous trips to the Vet, the cause of his advancing deafness was never determined. The one "bright spot" in it all was that the gradual nature of the increasing disability allowed Omar to slowly but surely make accommodations for the condition. As is often the case with animals (and humans too, for that matter), Omar's other senses, and his ability to use them more intensely, compensated to some extent for his hearing loss.
About the time Omar turned five years of age, he was "given-up" yet again. Due to several circumstances, though, he could not be returned to the shelter that he originally came from, so
(for the first time), we took him in at Lake Shore. His previous owners told us he was a "nasty dog," and prone to biting, and warned us to be careful. After a few days with several of our volunteers, however, it became apparent to us that his biting behavior was simply a fear response, when he would be surprised due to his deafness. This was particularly in evidence when he was roused out of a sound sleep. We learned to always approach him from a place where he could see us, and slowly, to give him time to react. After awhile, the biting behavior stopped completely. A short while later, we adopted him out to a single woman, who doted on him, and it looked as though Omar had it made!
But once again, fate took another "wrong turn." Several years later, Omar's owner became unable to properly care for him due to an intense work schedule. We took the dog back, just as we always do when any of our adopters are forced to give-up an animal. By this time, though, Omar was nearly 13 years old, and completely deaf. We placed the cute little dog in a new foster home in Arlington Heights, but as the months passed, time and time again his disability and advanced age proved to be
too much for potential adopters, who passed him by.
But God hadn't finished with Omar. The foster care-givers' neighbor, Mike, had gotten to know Omar. He "took a shine" to the plucky little dog. Mike loved to come over to take Omar for walks, rain or shine, and just enjoyed spending time with him. After awhile, even though he already had another dog, and despite Omar's age and disability, he called us up and asked if we would be willing to adopt Omar to him. Wow! We sure were! Now, Omar has truly found his forever home. He gets along great with the other family dog, sleeps with Mike's young daughter, and just generally has a really great life!
If you're considering adoption, don't forget to take a look at older dogs, too. They are still vital and energetic, just a little less-so than younger animals. They are usually very well-trained, less aggressive than younger dogs, and can be easier to handle. Most of all, though, they seem to respond to the love and affection of their owners in a very special way. Get to know one, and you'll see!