Canine and Feline Companions for Senior Citizens

Jul 13th, 2010 | By Dr Jerry D Elrod | Category: Senior Moments Blog

Part of the joy of everyday living is having pets.  In our case, the pets are canine.  One is a daschund, the other a papillion.  They are rescues, found on the Internet, while I was recovering from surgery. (www.petfinders.com)  That was over two years ago. 

They have melted our hearts many times since then.  They are more precious than the finest jewels.  They are playful, curious, good exercise companions on our daily walks and just plain lovable.  When we are away from them, even for a brief few hours, we miss them terribly.  Are they spoiled?  Of course, but not excessively so.  Are they loved?  Of course and excessively so!  Their companionship offers us the rewards of their unique personalities, the expressions of attention they give to us and receive from us.  They are like children, full of surprises.  They are like pets, forever loyal. They are Zebediah, our black dachshund and Patton, our white and black papillion.  

Over our 35 years of marriage, we have had canine companions.  We have enjoyed the presence of four daschunds (now five) one papillion and a feral cat.  Also in that number should be counted an occasional aquarium with variety of colorful fish, and all kind of wild animals we have enjoyed in the Piney Woods of East Texas.

Pia (Pain In the Ass), our cat, was of the “Silent Meow” genre, uniquely special, adorable, always in command, affectionate, as he (yes, he) chose.  He showed up on our doorstep one winter day with two of his siblings, decided to hang around when he discovered we would feed him, and continued to live a feral life for two years. I had originally declared “no cats in the house.”  Pia ignored my declaration and one day wandered in to the house.  He soon preferred to be inside and became somewhat domesticated, although he had daily ventures outside to hunt gophers and field mice .  Two of his siblings did not last long.  One wandered away.  The other, Poy (Piss on You), died of feline aids a year after they showed up.  We were soon down to Pia.  The Cat and Dogs learned how to co-habit.  So did we. 

When Pia died suddenly, our hearts were broken.  You don’t take cats for a walk.  They take you.  They make and enforce the rules. We had two of our dachshunds while Pia was with us.  They all three bedded down with us every night.  They got along with aplomb.  They knew how to keep their distance, to respect one another, to share in the giving and receiving of love. They are so wonderfully individual and a thumbprint in experience, never repeated. As such, we have not had one since, but how we miss him. 

Pets are a phenomenon that are peculiar to their breed and personalities.  For me, dogs are the preferred companion, but I soon learned that cats have a silent way of claiming your heart.  They are peace givers and companion champions.  They offer gifts of incalculable value.  They are like someone who chooses you, just as you choose them.  Pets, whether Canine or Feline, are of great value and companonship for those of us who are now older and need the special company and affection they offer.  Choose your pet, if you are so inclined, and you will be choosing joy and a special togetherness which gives gifts of daily satisfaction and comfort.



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