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. At 14 years old, this purebred “Who Knows What,” as Mom calls her, is embarking on a local but ambitious journey—to get 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 made the rounds, but no one stepped up to take the pair in. Gertie was already 12 years old, and Pablo the Chihuahua didn’t have the best people skills.
Their odds were not the best.
But it wasn’t long after she saw that sweet senior face (and thought of these two sitting in 100+ temps with fur coats) that a woman named Kate Goodhart welcomed 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. Unfortunately, it’s all too common for people to pass by frosty faces looking for a home. Goodhard writes on Gertie’s Facebook page:
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 was it that no one wanted this wizened sweetheart of a dog? Our best guess is that no one thought they’d be able to handle all the lovin’.
Gertie and Pablo aren’t going anywhere now—they’ll be a couple of Goodharts forever. And despite their veterinarian’s suggestion to put Gertie to sleep due to her numerous medical issues, her family knew she had a little strength in her yet. In fact, her health improved when 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. She adores “meeting new people and being hugged by everyone she meets,” her mom writes. And so why not go out with a bang and 1,000 hugs under your belt!
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 fun, and if Gertie is not in the mood or becomes tired during a hug session, she will (regrettably) decline further hugs. She is also sticking close to home in “Anthem, Cave Creek, Carefree and vicinity south to about Greenway” in Arizona and Nevada.
So send her some love on Facebook or visit and give that girl a big bear hug! You can also vote for Gertie for 85086 Magazine’s Cutest Pet Contest!
Good luck on your way to 1,000 hugs, Gertie! We’re sending virtual snuggles your way!