By J1 Reporter Ellie Peter
Math teacher Ms. Sue Altman loves dogs. Over her life she’s taken care of more than 19 dogs. Recently, she saw two dogs on the Nebraska Humane Society website [https://www.nehumanesociety.org] that she immediately fell in love with. She filled out an application, and eagerly awaited a response. After waiting the 72 hour waiting period, Altman found an email from the Humane Society in her spam folder, informing her of meet and greet times for the two pooches.
Unfortunately, Altman was swamped. The date she was emailed to come meet the dogs collided with parent-teacher conferences. There was no way she’d be able to make it on time.
Lucky for her, Mrs. Karen Coolidge, a library paraprofessional at Marian, volunteers to walk dogs at the Nebraska Humane Society. She heard about Altman’s struggle and decided she couldn’t let Altman miss out on these two dogs. She made a call into work and put the two chihuahua rat terriers on hold.
“I knew she would be a fantastic dog mom,” Coolidge said. Evidently, that she is. Altman got her two new dogs, who she named Lucy and Max. The siblings are constantly together, adjusting to their new home and cuddling on the couch and looking forward to seeing Altman at lunchtime.
Altman has never known a life without dogs. In her past dog adoptions, Altman goes the untraditional way with what she looks for in a dog. She gets most of her dogs from Hearts United, and her trick to finding the perfect dog to take home is to look for the ugly, sick and angry ones. The ultimate goal is to give these dogs a happy home for the time they have left.
She also considers age. She says, “you love them just as much, even if it’s three months or 15 years.” Her three pieces of advice for adopting old dogs is just to love them with patience, never scream at mistakes, and just show them that it’s okay. For however long the dogs are with her, she’s glad she had the chance to show them a happy life. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but you can teach an old dog how to be loved.
Altman has never turned a blind eye to a dog in peril. She stays so vigilant to the treatment of dogs because, “if there’s an abused dog, there’s probably an abused child.” To her, the way a dog is treated is the tell-all to how the inside of the home functions. Altman’s theory is that if someone abuses their dog in public, they are most likely abusing their child in private. Once, Altman had 25 rescued dogs in her car on a six hour drive.
Her dream is to one day buy a facility to hold all kinds of animals. “When I win the lottery,” she said, “I intend to open up a facility for rescue animals and the facilities will be top notch. Everything from horses, to cats, to dogs. Even to fish, and I hate fish.”
To Altman, loving animals is easy. She says the reason she loves dogs so much is because, “all they want is to be loved, fed, scratched, and to be let outside.” Another pro is that “they don’t ask for money,” she joked.
The impact that Altman has had is clear. Coolidge said she knew Lucy and Max would be right for Altman. She says, “It’s such a good feeling to know that these dogs are going to a good home.”