Some elder-dogs enjoy the flair of all-out bucket lists, but Ms. Gertrude (that’s Gertie, for all you humans) prefers to keep it simple and, well, snuggly. This purebred "Who Knows What," as Mom calls her, is 14 years old and on a small but ambitious journey: she wants to receive 1,000 hugs.
Gertie and her tiny canine brother Pablo were abandoned at a McDonald’s in the 107-degree Arizona heat. A Facebook plea went viral, but no one stepped forward to take the couple in. Pablo the Chihuahua wasn't the best with people, and Gertie was already 12 years old.
Their odds were not the best. But, not long after seeing that sweet senior face (and picturing these two sitting in 100-degree weather in fur coats), a woman named Kate Goodhart invited them into her home.
Gertie is an old lady, it’s true, but those whose lives have been graced by a senior dog know that means nothing. People passing by with frosty faces looking for a home to live are unfortunately all too common. On Gertie's Facebook page, Goodhard writes:
"They see cute, cuddly and bouncy, but are blind to older, calmer and loving."
To Goodhart and anyone who has ever wrangled a puppy, those three things sound like paradise. So why wasn't anyone interested in this wise old sweetheart of a dog? Nobody expected them to be able to handle all the adoration, in our opinion.
Gertie and Pablo aren’t going anywhere now—they’ll be a couple of Goodharts forever. Despite their veterinarian's advice to put Gertie to sleep due to her numerous medical issues, her family knew she still had some fighting spirit. Her health actually improved after she settled in at home.
Now Gertie is on a mission. She’s an old girl in her golden years who may not have a lot of time left, but she still has a zest for life. According to her mother, she enjoys "meeting new people and being hugged by everyone she meets." So why not say goodbye with a bang and a thousand hugs?
Goodhart says this endeavor is about making Gertie happy, but if “she happens to clear the blind spots people have for older dogs, all the better.” It's also about having fun, and if Gertie isn't in the mood or gets tired during a hug session, she will (regrettably) decline additional hugs. She is also staying close to home in Arizona and Nevada, in "Anthem, Cave Creek, Carefree, and vicinity south to about Greenway."
So send her some love on Facebook or visit and give that girl a big bear hug! Gertie, best wishes on your journey to 1,000 hugs! We're sending you virtual cuddles!