by Barry KuKes
There must be at least two hundred dogs in my subdivision/neighborhood, and who knows how many cats. I can account for at least twenty dogs on my street alone, and there are probably around three hundred homes in the subdivision. If only half the homes have a dog, that’s one hundred and fifty, but what about people like me that have more than one dog? Each neighbor on either side, directly across the street, and behind our home has at least one pet.
I would also say that most of the homeowners in the subdivision are seniors. Sure, a few families have young children, but they are few and far between. Right about now, you might be saying, “thanks for the lesson about your subdivision, but why should I care?” The information isn’t about my subdivision; it’s about pets and seniors. The neighborhood is a small sampling and data collection representing a much larger area, like Port Orange or Ormond Beach.
Without going into more data crunching, we can assume that a lot of seniors have pets. I would go out on a limb and say most of the dogs these seniors have as pets are smaller lapdogs, but this is not the case based on the pets found on my street. I have two larger dogs and had three at one time. My surrounding neighbors all have larger dogs as well. Only two smaller dogs come to mind, but I’m sure there are more; I’m just not aware of their presence.
My purpose for bringing this senior to pet ratio up in the first place is to demonstrate how pets can fulfill a senior life. I keep urging seniors to adopt a pet, and it looks like my nagging has actually worked! Or, seniors just like having a pet and made that decision on their own without my influence. Either way, seniors have pets, and the pets thank you from the bottom of their hearts. I can’t imagine how many more homeless animals there would be in local shelters and rescues if it weren’t for our senior demographic.
Let’s face it; seniors make great pet parents. They are usually home for longer periods of time than younger generations who still work full-time. Many seniors I know walk their dogs several times a day. My buddy Jim and his dog Clarise must walk ten miles a day. My neighbor Rachael walks her dog Cuqui at least 3 to 4 times a day. Both of these neighbors are in their late seventies.
Walking their dogs keeps them in shape and better health.
So here comes the nagging again. If you are a senior and are on the fence about adopting a pet, now is the time to take action. A pet can be your snuggle buddy, exercise partner, confidant, and best friend if you give it a chance.
Remember, adopt, don’t shop.
Barry KuKes is the Community Out- reach Director for the Halifax Humane Society in Daytona Beach. He can be reached at 386.274.4703, ext. 320, or at firstname.lastname@example.org