Anyone who has never had a dog cannot possibly understand the heartbreak and devastation that a dog owner feels when their beloved pet dies. It is like losing a family member and your best friend all rolled into one. Steve Greig certainly understands the impact of the death of a dog, as t devastated when his much-loved fur baby died. However, instead of wallowing in his grief, Grieg made an amazing decision that not only benefited him but also made a huge difference to the lives of many abandoned dogs.
In an interview with The Dodo, Greig explained that he was distraught following the death of his dog. Even after two months, he still felt terrible and was struggling with the loss. He realized that the only thing that could make the situation better was if something positive happened that would not have happened if his dog had not died. This was when Greig made the heartwarming decision to go to the local animal shelter to adopt the most unadoptable dog they had. He was referring to the dogs that never get chosen and spend extended periods in the shelter, and there are many reasons why this happens. Often, it is because the dog is old or that they have health problems.
Most people who are willing to adopt a dog from a rescue shelter choose young and healthy dogs. Old dogs are not considered because people want a dog that can become part of their family for many years to come. Dogs with health problems are off-putting to people because they often need additional care and are likely to need either regular appointments with the vet or medication, both of which are costly. Kindhearted Greig was willing to overlook these issues and welcome an unwanted dog into his home, regardless of their health or age. When he went to his local animal shelter, he was introduced to a 12-yer-old Chihuahua called Eeyore. The elderly dog had a heart condition and knee problems, but that didn’t deter Greig from giving him a forever home.
According to I Heart Dogs, Eeyore was just the first of many old rescue dogs that Steve has adopted as it has become his legacy. He wanted to continue adopting senior dogs and he became the voice of the dogs that are overlooked in shelters. There is now an unusual blended family living in Greig’s home as he has multiple dogs that he affectionately calls The Wolfgang. Such is his love for animals that Greig decided he would also offer his home for other unwanted animals, so his animal family continued to grow. In addition to the dogs, there is a chicken called Betty, a turkey called Tofu, a pot-bellied pig called Bikini, and several rabbits.
Deciding to have so many animals was a big commitment, not least because there are so many of them that have additional health needs or that are following special diets. Greig puts in a lot of hard work every single day to make sure all the animals are properly cared for and that their needs are fully met. Every morning, Greig is out of bed before the sun has even risen so that he can start preparing breakfasts for the whole gang. It takes so long because of the different dietary needs of the different species and because there are several of his pets on special diets or who need assistance to eat.
For example, Englebert was a small dog who had no lower jaw, and this made eating his meals problematic. To help him out, Geiger would prepare meals made from soft ingredients and then shaped them into small mountains as Englebert found it easier to eat this way. Geiger took such good care of Englebert that they developed a special bond, and Geiger was devastated when the feisty little dog died recently.
Geiger is fully committed to giving each of his dogs the best life possible, even if this means him undertaking tasks that he finds tricky. By his own admission, Geiger is not skilled at mechanical tasks, but he didn’t let this stop him from designing and building a wheelchair for Doris, a dog that has heart problems and kidney disease. He even sprayed it pink and purple as he thought Doris would like the bright colors.
The most recent addition to The Wolfgang is John Henry. Geiger adopted this dog from a rescue shelter in Venice, Florida, called the True & Faithful Pet Rescue Mission. John Henry traveled by plane to meet his new owner, and the pair met for the first time at the airport. Despite not having met his new dog before choosing him, Geiger says that they had an instant connection. He named the dog after a childhood friend who had passed away two years earlier.
Geiger nearly always renames the dogs when he adopts them. Not only does he choose a name that means something to him, but he also wants to give the dogs a new identity to go with their fresh start in life. While some people may think that changing a dog’s name will confuse it, there is some evidence to the contrary. Dogs do not associate the name that they are called with themselves, but with the person who is calling them that name. Therefore, the dogs easily adapt to their new monikers.
The Wolfgang has now become a social media sensation. On their Instagram page, they have a whopping 896 thousand followers. Some of Geiger’s posts on the page have more than two thousand comments, most of which are offering support to his mission to rescue unwanted senior dogs. Geiger updates the page regularly with interesting information about how the animals are doing accompanied by photographs of The Wolfgang having fun together, or individual pictures of the animal to which the post relates.