Dogs and Senior Owners

What size dog? What happens if I go first.

One of the saddest situations I have seen on multiple occasions, is when an old person passes away and leaves their beloved old dog. A beloved old dog who is not wanted by any family member. It is so sad when these dogs end up in shelters or put in a backyard, alone.

Let’s face it. Old dogs are hard. I don’t want my dogs to be old, but then I know (hope) they will get that way and I have planned for it. I certainly do NOT want them to die young. Old dogs take additional home and vet care. They lose control of their bladders, they need special food. Old dogs are hard to care for, but I would not give up my old dogs for all the gold in the world. Not for me, but for them. They deserve the loving care of the person who has loved them.

So how do you plan for your dog if it out lives you? (Younger people my die unexpectedly, so this applies to them, too)

Let’s look at what happened to my dad’s cat, Joe. My dad was in his 80s when my mother passed. He wanted an animal friend, so we adult kids got him Joe, a huge friendly young adult cat. Joe gave my dad a lot of pleasure. When dad died, Joe was middle aged. Because Joe was friendly, well behaved, well socialized and loved by family, friends and the nursing home staff, there were many offers from people to take Joe. Joe lived out the remainder of his life in luxury at my brother’s house. That’s the way it should work.

There are serious considerations if you are a senior who is getting a new animal. First consider your age and health and the longevity of the animal you are bringing into your home.

Seniors who are experienced dog people, should remember that they might not have the energy and stamina to raise a puppy of an active breed such as a Jack Russell or a dog who needs a lot of exercise, such as a Labrador Retriever. You may not have the strength to train a large dog who needs a lot of attention, like a German Shepherd. Consider purchasing or adopting an older dog who has slowed down a little and is well trained. No one is going to want your dog if it not well trained and is nutsy because you could not provide for its needs.

For seniors who are adopting their first animal, choosing a well behaved adult animal is not a choice, it is a requirement. Seek the advice of professionals and animal experienced family. Don’t even consider a puppy unless you are living with a younger caretaker who has plenty of dog experience and who wants to help care for the new dog.

If you already have a dog you need to make plans for that dog if you die first.

Start by making sure your dog is well trained and socialized. While you still can, take it to training classes and take it out with you so it can experience the world and learn to not be afraid of new situations.

If your dog needs special care and medicines be sure there is someone willing to take over the medical care and the expenses of the medicines. If not, consider leaving the horrible but necessary instruction to euthanize your dog. What is worse? A dog euthanized a year or two early, or a dog living the end of its life sick, miserable and lonely?

Face the facts. You are the planner for your dog. Plan ahead so you dog does not suffer.

Published by trumanbluemysteries

Truman Blue is the inspiration for the Truman Blue Mystery, cozy mystery series.

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