Senior special needs dog brings joy to retired couple
By: on August 31, 2016

Rainbow knows that living the good life has nothing to do with how many tricks you can do or what you look like. This little dog knows that the key to enjoying life is to just be yourself. And it helps to stay positive when challenges arise. After all, you can’t get a rainbow without a little rain.

For Rainbow, living life on the sunny side of the street is just her nature. And this bright disposition didn’t just come in handy when she was diagnosed with a tooth infection that eventually left her with one eye. It also inspired everyone around her.

Senior dog named Rainbow

Dog with severe tooth infection gets help

“I can’t imagine a world without Rainbow,” says Shannon Kirkman, foster and adoptions coordinator for Best Friends–New York. Shannon fostered Rainbow after the little terrier mix lost her home and was brought to Animal Care Centers of NYC. Best Friends–New York took in Rainbow because the sweet dog had some obvious medical needs that would make it tougher for her to find a home from a busy shelter. The infection, which was plainly visible on her little face, eventually required surgery.

Shannon remembers picking up Rainbow at the veterinary office. “There she was with that beautiful smile,” she says. “I just fell in love with her.”

Senior dog sleeping with a man on the couch

Rainbow finds perfect home with retired couple

As Rainbow settled right into to life with Shannon and her husband, the couple soon realized that they were fostering a dog with an indomitable spirit. For Rainbow, there are no excuses for not enjoying every day. Not even surgery to remove her eye could get her down. When Shannon picked her up at the veterinarian’s office afterwards, Rainbow greeted her with a wagging tail.

The little dog was going to be fine. All she needed next was a permanent home of her own. She didn’t have to wait long.

Around the time Rainbow was recovering from the second surgery on her face, Elizabeth and her husband Sy, both retired, began looking for a companion for their dog Buddy. The first time Elizabeth saw a photo of Rainbow online, her heart melted. And when she met Rainbow later that week at an adoption event, she knew she had met a kindred spirit.

“Being as we are both seniors, I could relate to her,” says Elizabeth. “And I wanted to be the one to give her a good home.”

Shannon still remembers the day she took Rainbow to her new home with Elizabeth and Sy. “It was such a bittersweet day for us, but a very special one for Rainbow.”

Two dogs playing together

A dog’s life: Mets games, walks in the park, giving comfort

Today, Rainbow is a big part of Sy and Elizabeth's family. She gets to play in the grass at FDR Park with Elizabeth and her daughter, and loves playing with the young children living nearby the couple's home. She has been a source of great joy and love to Elizabeth and Sy as they face their own health challenges.

When Elizabeth returned home after surgery recently, Rainbow quietly sat by her side night and day, offering Elizabeth comfort as she healed. “There’s nothing like having a dog next to you when you’re in bed recovering,” says Elizabeth. “It was like she sensed I needed her to help me relieve tension and feel better.”

On most nights, you can find Rainbow sitting next to Sy watching Mets games. Although Sy’s short term memory wanes from time to time, Elizabeth notices that it gets a little sharper when Rainbow is around.

“She makes us feel better,” says Elizabeth. “You look at her and see how happy she is, even though she has been through so much. And it makes you want to be happy, too. We just love her.”