“VIP” SPRINGERS – OUR SENIORS
One of the passions that led Jan Flagg to establish ESRA in 1998 was the plight of senior Springers left to fend for themselves — or suffer a worse fate — in their golden years. Through the years since Jan’s passing, we have staunchly honored her legacy by always standing by ESRA’s commitment to hold our seniors in highest regard, raising funds to finance their every need and working diligently to find them loving new homes for whatever time “forever” means to their futures. Over the past several years, we have seen an increase in the number of elderly dogs rescued by ESRA not just because of economic constraints or lifestyle changes placed on their owners, but often due to the advancing age of the owners themselves who find they can no longer physically care for their beloved pets. In 2014, more than 800 Springers were brought into ESRA’s rehoming program — 160 of them would qualify as seniors! Care for these dogs is provided through our Jan Flagg Memorial Fund which has been supported since its inception in 2002 by the generosity of many individual contributors and some group efforts, such as “Charlotte’s Fund,” a new project initiated in 2015 by the Clayton Nation community.
Sometimes a senior Springer comes to us with the vim and vigor of a youngster, but most of them arrive with at least some indication of the years they bring with them, like the wisdom that comes along with the graying of the brow. Often our seniors have suffered years of neglect, not necessarily through lack of love, but the result is the same. Most come to us with underlying medical issues that need to be managed — arthritis and other age-related ailments that sometimes impede their mobility, ear infections sometimes so bad to have rendered the dog severely hearing-impaired or deaf, eye disorders commonly associated with advancing age including occasional blindness, urinary complications that add an extra measure of supervision for their daily care. They often come to us either overfed or undernourished. Some suffer from cognitive impairments, mild to debilitating. Their coats are often terribly dirty and matted and sometimes infested with fleas, causing severe skin reactions, and their toenails are often long overdue for a trim. The list is long, the needs are many, underscoring the reason why ESRA will always encourage tax-deductible gifts to the Jan Flagg Memorial Fund.
ESRA has a special adoption program, Springers for Seniors, that allows approved adopters who are senior citizens themselves, 60 years old or older, to adopt one of our senior Springers and have the $350 adoption fee waived. We’re extremely proud of this program because it helps to ensure that our older Springers are placed in appropriate homes where the lifestyle is well matched to that of their own golden years, but it also leaves our treasury short of the funds we generally count on through adoption fees to help cover veterinary bills and other medical necessities. Because our commitment to this incentive is strong, it helps to explain another reason why contributions to our Jan Flagg Memorial Fund are vital to our continued success.
Presenting the touching stories of some of our successful senior placements, even a story of one who “crossed the Rainbow Bridge” not long after we found her and another whose "Forever Home" will probably turn out to be permanent foster care, will make clear why ESRA devotes so much time and effort to these very special Springer Spaniels.
We sincerely appreciate every contributor who helps ESRA to provide care and homes so that these “VIP” Springers can live out their final years enveloped in love, respect and security. And of course we applaud every adopter who chooses one of our special ESRA dignitaries as a treasured companion.