Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Joys of Being a Senior Pet

I am a senior citizen.  In dog years, I am older than my Baby Boomer Mom.  I admit, that's a bit weird at times.  But it's nice to know she's still young enough to take care of me!

Now that I am a bit older, I admit there are some things I cannot do as well as when I was a puppy.  Mom needs to help get up in my chair sometimes.  And I sleep more now than I used to.

Mom seems to enjoy my company more now too.  She laughs at Austin's antics and likes to play with him outside and take him for walks.  But in the evenings, she likes to sit in our chair and read or watch TV and I will curl up in her lap and just be with her.  She will scratch my ears or sometimes give me a belly rub.  It's pleasant to just spend quiet time together.  Austin is constantly jumping up and down and Mom finally gets tired of it and tells him to stay down.  But she seems to really enjoy having me laying quietly in her lap.

Now that it's getting colder at night, she often lets me sleep with her.  We lay quietly next to each other snuggled under the quilt.  Sometimes Dad's snoring wakes me up, but Mom will nudge him and he quiets right down.  And sometimes Austin will try to squirm his way in.  But he can't ever lay still long enough so Mom makes him sleep at the food of the bed or he would keep all of us (Mom, Dad, and me) awake all night.

I remember my puppy years.  There was so much to learn.  How to go outside so I didn't mess in the house.  What toys I could chew on and some things (like shoes) are not chew toys.  Mom was often stern with me while I struggled to learn the rules.  Now I watch Austin going through the same thing and I am glad that I am old enough to know all the rules.  I'm done teething so Mom and I don't have any differences of opinion over what makes an appropriate chew toy.  And while Austin needs to run and play ALOT, I'm content to walk quietly with Mom or just sit in the sun on the porch with her or in our comfy chair.  Being a older dog is much less stressful than being a puppy!

There are lots of senior pets in shelters all over the country that would welcome the chance to share their golden years with a special Mom and Dad.  And there are lots of advantages to owning a senior dog.  We are already grown so you know exactly how big we are going to be.  We are done teething so you don't have to worry about us chewing up your favorite slippers - or the rockers on your antique rocking chair (sorry Mom!).  Most of us have been housebroken already so once we know where we are supposed to go, there aren't the usual puppy messes to clean up.  Some of us have even been trained to do other things.  When Ginger came to live with us, she soon showed us that she had been trained to herd.  Now she uses that training to round up everything from grandkids to cats for Mom.  Our older cats have years of experience hunting.  So while neighbors complain of mice coming in their houses for the winter or finding snakes in their yard, Mom relaxes knowing that her four-legged mouse traps and snake deterrents are on the job.  (I don't have any special tricks or skills.  I guess it's a good thing I'm so cute!)

At shelters, older dogs are often the last to be adopted and the first to be put to sleep. When you save the life of one of us senior dogs, you will be rewarded with unconditional love and devotion every day.  If you don't believe we can know and express gratitude, just talk to someone who has adopted a senior pet.

Ready for some good senior pet companionship?  Check out these programs that specialize in senior pet adoption. 

 Berkeley East Bay Humane Society 
H.A.R.T. (Humane Animal Rescue Team),

Nike Animal Rescue Foundation
Peace of Mind Dog Rescue
Atlanta Animal Rescue Friends (AARF)
Pets for Seniors,
The Hinsdale Humane Society
Indiana Petite Paws Rescue Angels, Inc
St. Louis Senior Dogs Project
Senior Dogs 4 Seniors
Posh Pets Rescue
North Shore Animal League
Warwick Valley Humane Society
The Sanctuary for Senior Dogs (SSD)
Senior Dog Rescue of Oregon
South East Dallas Humane Society


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