by Barry KuKes
Even though the holidays are be- hind us, that doesn’t mean we can’t share the love in our hearts with a homeless animal needing a forever home. All animal shelters, in-cluding Halifax Humane Society (HHS), have many animals available for adoption that would love to be your next best friend!
Many seniors experience depression and loneliness after a major holiday. Family visits and spend a few days with grandma and grandpa but then must return home to their jobs, school, and other responsibilities. Many grandparents go from family overload to total family withdrawal within a few days. Feeling empty and depressed once alone again is very common.
One way to get over loneliness is to adopt a new pet to keep you company. An older dog or cat that needs someone to care for them can offer seniors affection, entertainment, and a reason to be active. When you have a pet, they need attention. Many seniors do not adopt because they don’t want to be tied to a pet, and the need to provide care. To each their own, I would prefer having a pet that gets me off the couch and moving.
Keeping busy helps your mind and body perform at their peak. Taking a walk helps get your blood pumping but taking a walk with your new pet dog really gets you going! They love to pull and crisscross in front of you when you least expect it, so you must stay alert. An excellent exercise for your mind and body! Your dog will help you add steps to your walk because most dogs love to go for a walk. Then some dogs love to smell everything in their path. Maybe take your dog for a test drive/walk before adopting to ensure they are in sync with your walking style.
Let’s not forget about cats; they also make wonderful pets. They need much less maintenance than a dog but still provide their humans lots of love and fun. Both dogs and cats get the zoomies. If you have never had a pet, you might not be familiar with the zoomies. Imagine your dog or cat racing in the Daytona 500 and going around in circles as fast as possible. That’s the zoomies. My little dog Cooper gets the zoomies daily. My two older dogs run for cover as Cooper imitates Mario Andretti or Jimmy Johnson.
Most cats don’t like to go for walks on a leash, but there are exceptions. A friend of mine always takes her cat for walks on a leash. Most cats also don’t like water, but I have another friend whose cat loves swimming in their pool.
One size does not fit all. Cats love to snuggle and knead as if making biscuits on your shoulders. Great if you are in the mood for a massage. Just watch out for those claws. Cats are very self-sufficient. All you need to provide them is a well-maintained litter box, fresh water, food bowls, some cat toys to play with, and lots of love and attention. Cats also tend to live longer than most dogs. It is not unusual for a cat to live twenty years or more. The average life of a dog is 10-16 years, depending on the size and breed of the dog. Some dogs can live as long as twenty years, but their quality of life is greatly diminished.
If you are experiencing the after-holiday blues, keep yourself busy, visit with friends, exercise, read books, explore new interests, get a roommate (human or animal), and keep positive. Once you enter your 70s, life takes on new meaning. Please share it with someone or something that will care about you and want to be with you. There is nothing wrong with getting married at 70, nor is there nothing wrong with adopting a dog or cat to share your life.
Please adopt, don’t shop.
Barry KuKes is the Community Outreach Director for the Halifax Humane Society. You can reach Barry at 386.274.4703, ext.