‘Senior’ Pets Still Have Lots of Love Left To Share
By Rebecca Stroud // April 6, 2015
CONSIDER ADOPTING AN OLDER PET
The Animal Advocate, By Rebecca Stroud
Something very disturbing to me…it seems that every time I look at pictures of shelter animals up for adoption, many of the featured dogs and cats are seniors.
While I can certainly understand dire circumstances that may require the relinquishment of any pet – such as the death or incapacitation of the owner – that’s about where my sympathy stops, especially when the animal in question is geriatric.
Excuses that run the gamut from “moving, can’t take pet” to “I want a young one” frustrate me to the point of palpitations because, in my opinion, that is exactly what they are…excuses. And flimsy ones at that.
So please pay close attention while I make my case about the joys and benefits of bringing an older pet home. For starters, there’s the obvious reason of saving a life.
We all know the adorable appeal of babies. Coupled with a cute and cuddly appearance, their lively exuberance is hard to resist when compared to the sometimes sad reticence of an abandoned 11-year-old.
However, unless a shelter is totally no-kill, someone’s gotta go and the elderly usually win first place in line for that fatal needle.
Yet I’ve seen firsthand the undying gratitude literally beaming from the face of an old dog as he pranced out the door with his new family; knowing in the way only a creature with a sixth sense can know he’s been given a second chance.
On those occasions, I can’t tell you how proud I was of the people who realized that, although there may not be many years remaining for their new pet, there was an overflowing abundance of love left to share.
If you’re contemplating getting a dog or cat, I hope my words have put a thoughtful spin on the positives of adopting an aging animal. Don’t believe me? Visit your local shelter for living proof.
Naturally there will be a period of adjustment but, as a rule, an older pet settles in quickly as long as they are not relegated to the back yard or crated for hours on end (which no animal should be anyway).
And a senior animal given up by its life-long family wants nothing more than a loving, permanent home where he/she feels safe and secure, never again to worry about being dumped or thrown out with the bath water.
That said, some may fear there is a “sooner-rather-than-later” death looming on the horizon. Well, I doubt I need to tell you – no matter when it happens – it’s still going to be one huge heartbreaking wallop.
Be it a bouncing baby boy inexplicably stricken by disease or accident, or a gray-muzzled old girl who has basked in your sun her whole life, your grief will not be mitigated whatever their age.
Bottom line, if you’re contemplating getting a dog or cat, I hope my words have put a thoughtful spin on the positives of adopting an aging animal.
Hey, I’m the first one to admit I’m a sucker for puppies. Yet as I myself get older, there’s something very good to be said about a lot less frantic, a lot more calm.
Throw in those eternally grateful eyes and it’s a win-win. Don’t believe me? Visit your local shelter for living proof.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rebbeca Stroud is a former newspaper reporter and columnist. She is now an independent author who has published numerous books and stories, including The Killing Sands, Murder 9.0, Dragon’s Moon, Devil’s Moon, Do Unto Others, The Animal Advocate, A Three-Dog Night, Zellwood: A Dog Story and Jinxed.
In addition to writing, Stroud is an editor and avid animal lover. She lives in Cocoa with her husband and their adored catahoula-boxer mix.
To contact Stoud, e-mail RebeccaStroud@aol.com