Senior Citizens’ Best Friends: All Have Four Legs

Jul 9th, 2009 | By Dr Jerry D Elrod | Category: Senior Moments Blog

Our family has included now seven pets, three pairs of dogs (five of whom have been dachshunds), a papillion and a tabby cat.  Each of them has offered their own unique blend of happiness and expressions of affection to us.  They have given and received our attention and affection. The two who live with us now are both rescues, whom I found  on www.Petfinder.comwhile I was recovering from cancer surgery.  One is a black mini dachshund, the other a glorious papillion.  None ever replaces any of the others, they just bring their own special and unique blend of joy to our lives.

While there are some few inconveniences, particularly if travel is frequent, there are more day to day benefits in sharing life with pets, so that they literally become a part of the family.  I have wondered how many pets one must have and grieve over losing.  The answer is as many as you choose to have.  Pets are, nor should they be, not to be taken for granted. 

Pets have a way of reinforcing your finer qualities.  They help grow love. They demonstrate giving and encourage you to give to them, not selfishly, but genuinely and with depth.  They become obedient, they understand language and communication, they help your day begin with pleasure and greetings, they are attentive to your needs. 

When you are ill,  they know it.  When you are down, they move closer.  When you and they take a walk, they are never happier, because they are with you. When you are about to take a trip, short or long, in the car, they know and they beg to go along.  They are happiest when life is a shared experience and you and they are enriched by it. 

There is nothing quite like their physical proximity: on your lap, in the bed, cuddling in your favorite chair or lounger together, their having their head and nose close to you, feeling the presence of the most important human  being in the world next to them. 

They always know that food and water will be dependably provided and available.  They know they are safe. They know that any threat upon them would be as if it were upon you.  They will do what is in their power to warn, protect, defend, even at peril of their own danger. 

They love to explore, which is why, in these times, much care must be taken to protect them and reduce all forms of threat or danger. 

Loneliness is not an option with pets around, which is why having one or more is a worthy consideration.  Frankly, other than having a wonderful, committed and loyal spouse, I can think of no better way, as we age, to add to the circle of those who help give life rich meaning.



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