November is Adopt A Senior Pet Month. It’s an appropriate time to remember all the reasons why we should consider the amazing gifts we receive from our senior pets.
Having lost their long time companions, many people don’t want a new pet because they feel they can’t endure the heartache of losing another. What they often forget is that it’s the quality of the time we spend with our furkids, not the quantity that is important. It is not how much time you spend with them, but how you spend that time.
My husband and I have lived with the 13 seniors we have rescued for as little as seven months to as long, to date, as five years. Each personality is as different as the circumstances under which they came into our lives. We have learned so much from each of them. We have no clue where most spent the better part of their lives, so we can only venture to guess what life was like for them. The evidence is found in their mannerisms and in their physical condition upon their arrival in rescue.
There are many reasons why someone should consider adopting a senior pet. Here are just a few:.
1. Calm, Cool & Collected
With senior pets, we can usually skip over the potty training stage when we are constantly cleaning up after them. They are also past the point when they wear us out with their exuberant puppy energy. Senior dog and cats are our instant companions. They are ready to do the things we want to do. They just want to be with us.
2. Appreciative and Eager to Please
These innocent souls understand the importance of the second chance they have been given to lead a life that is filled with love and understanding. It has always amazed me how eager they are to want to please us. We have taken all of our rescues to obedience classes to give us an opportunity to work with them one on one. They have all been very eager to participate.
3. Constant Companions
Our days are so busy, we tend to forget about some of the really important, yet simple, things in life like watching a sunset or taking a long walk in the forest preserve or on the beach. Senior dogs love to spend that time with us.
I’ve also been amazed at their incredible resilience. Although these little angels may have scars from being abused, they can learn to forget the horror or their previous life. It may take some time, but for most, being enveloped in a loving home helps to smooth away the rough edges.
5. Lessons We Learn
Our seniors have taught me the power and importance of patience. They have no control over their situations, so it is our responsibility to care for these innocents. As they age, they also suffer from what we consider classic human signs of aging such as arthritis, loss of sight and loss of hearing. The undying love in their eyes reminds us they can’t always respond as we wish them to even though they want to make us happy.
Our pets force us to realize that life is short and that we need to make the best of each and every day. Tomorrow is promised to no one.
The memories we make with our senior companions leave lasting impressions on our hearts. And when the time comes for them to cross the Rainbow Bridge, we will comfort them and they will leave us knowing that our life together was full of love. Cheryl Zuccaro is quoted as saying,
“It came to me that every time I lose a dog they take a piece of my heart with them. And every new dog who comes into my life gifts me with a piece of their heart. If I live long enough, all the components of my heart will be dog, and I will become as generous and loving as they are.”
What a wonderful gift if we allow ourselves the opportunity to receive it.