After rescuing an elderly dog in memory of his departed companion, Steve Greig has continued to welcome numerous senior dogs into his care.
In 2012, Steve Greig experienced profound grief when his cherished miniature pinscher, Wolfgang, who had been his loyal companion for 12 years, was tragically struck and killed by a car.
“I was just so depressed about it — I couldn’t quite shake it,” he tells PEOPLE. “So I decided that I needed to do something that kind of gave his death meaning, something good coming out of him dying.”
He visited a shelter close to his residence in Denver and welcomed into his family a 12-year-old Chihuahua whom he affectionately named Eeyore.
“From the second I adopted Eeyore, I could tell it was the right thing to do,” says Greig, 59. “I just immediately felt better about Wolfgang’s death. It was giving life to another dog. So, it just felt really good.”
With ample space at his disposal, he decided to welcome another senior dog into his home. Soon after, another followed, and then yet another. Presently, his pack consists of 11 senior dogs.
“This is their home,” he says.
He and his canine companions coexist in their living area with Greig’s petite pot-bellied pig, Bikini, and a Silkie chicken named Betty. Notably, Betty, in contrast to the other chickens, opts for indoor sleeping arrangements within the house rather than the coop.
“I’ve always been a dog person, I love being around dogs,” he says, adding of the animals he rescues, “a lot of these dogs would be put down immediately.”
One of Greig’s dogs, Festus, has lost his eyesight entirely. Another canine companion, named Cat, grapples with diabetes. Pup Loretta is dealing with senility and incontinence, necessitating the use of a diaper. Despite these challenges, Loretta delights in her meals and particularly enjoys the warmth of being cradled, according to Greig.
“A lot of these [dogs] just would never have homes. And if you give him the proper care, they’re great dogs,” he says.”I find it comforting to know that they’re living out their last years the way that they should, being loved and warm, and not in a shelter.”
At night, seven small dogs peacefully slumber in his bed.
“I can’t imagine my life without dogs,” he says. “They brought me so much joy through my life that I feel like this is a little bit of payback, being able to take care of them.”
He documents their experiences on Instagram under the handle @Wolfgang2242, captivating a community of over 1 million followers with the animals’ escapades. Through this platform, he not only entertains but also advocates for others to join in. According to him, senior dogs embody a more relaxed demeanor, finding joy in simple pleasures like strolls around the neighborhood and cozying up for a movie night.
There’s no way I could have this many dogs if they were younger,” he says. “It would just be a nightmare, but these dogs, we get up, we go outside, they go to the bathroom, I feed them breakfast. They usually nap for two or three hours, so I can get some stuff done. So, it kind of works out.”
“Being with them really makes me happy,” he adds. “We’re one big family.”