When I am old… I will wear soft gray sweatshirts and a bandana over my silver hair,
and I will spend my social security checks on wine and my dogs
I will sit in my house on my well-worn chair and listen to my dogs breathing.
I will sneak out in the middle of a warm summer night and take my dogs for a run, if my old bones will allow
When people come to call, I will smile and nod as I show them my dogs,
and talk of them and about them……
the ones so beloved of the past and the ones so beloved of today
These friends who always wait, at any hour, for your footfall
and eagerly jump to their feet out of a sound sleep, to greet you as if you are a God
With warm eyes full of adoring love and hope that you will always stay
I’ll hug their big strong necks
I’ll kiss their dear sweet heads
and whisper in their very special company
I recently did a photo shoot with a delightful terrier called Sarah and her human Margaret. Watching them together it was plain to see how much they love one another and it really made me aware of what wonderful, indispensable companions pets can be to us, as we grow older. NB* Sarah is a well looked after, happy little dog and this post in no way implies that Margaret is unable to care for her, doing the photo shoot for them simply prompted this train of thought.
While young or even middle-aged, we’re so busy living life, raising children and earning a living that we don’t realize the implications of getting older and what a huge difference it makes to everyday life.
As we age, our children grow up and leave the nest, we retire from our professions, perhaps our partners die but even though we are old and some people may think “past our sell by date” we still have lots to offer and desire to be of value, needed, loved, respected and to have a sense of purpose. Pets can do that for us, they dispel loneliness, provide someone to talk to, a constant companion on hand 24 hours a day. They reduce stress by providing emotional security, a non judgmental furry or feathered partner who loves us just as we are. Figures in a recent survey showed that 95% of older people talk to their pets and 82% said that their pets made them feel better when they were feeling sad.
Pets give us a reason to get up in the morning, to get out and get some exercise. They provide opportunity for social interaction; a friend of mine was telling me what a difference her dog Tammy made in her life, she said, “I was invisible until I adopted Tammy. People notice you and talk to you when you own a dog.”
Most older people are on a fixed income and once a beloved pet dies they are reluctant to adopt another as the cost of basic care and feeding their pet may be out of their reach. Another cause of anxiety for the elderly person whose pet is still alive is, who will look after their beloved companion if something happens to them?
All too often these people will not ask for help and would rather go without food and healthcare than see their pets hungry or sick.
My intention with this post was not to dispense doom and gloom but to create awareness. Pets do such a marvellous job of providing worth, light and purpose to an older persons life and I feel it’s important for us to be vigilant and alert enough to notice when an older friend or family member needs financial help taking care of their pets. Where possible, put their mind at rest by giving them the assurance that should they become hospitalised or die, their pets will be taken care of.
Perhaps an older person you know, needs your help.
Think about it,
All my love