As a senior myself, I have three dogs and one granddaughter. The dogs live with me; the granddaughter lives with her father in Kansas City, Missouri. Unlike the dogs I see daily, I only get to see my granddaughter maybe once or twice a year. With retirement looming in the near future, my wife and I hope to be able to travel more to see our granddaughter. Meanwhile, we focus 90 percent of our attention on our dogs and 10 percent on each other. No, that’s not a typo. Our dogs, especially the puppy, require lots of hands-on attention and training, so we spend far more time on the dogs than we do each other. We do get time to ourselves, especially after eight p.m., when all puppies should be in bed for the night.
You might be asking, “if the dogs are so time-consuming, why do you have one, much less three?” That’s a great question, and I can offer some very valid reasons. One, our dogs keep us active and moving. They need to be let out about 100 times a day. The puppy loves to chase lizards in the yard. He forgets that he is out to make a poop because he gets so distracted by the lizzie hunt. Then he comes into the house and poops on the kitchen floor. Guess he needs to go out 101 times. Two, all of our dogs are very loving. They love to snuggle and be pet. They wag their tails non-stop and spin around when they are excited. They make us smile. Three, their time with us on this earth is much too short. We have many things going on in our lives, but they only have us. We want to ensure they get as much love from us as possible.
Our neighbors are older. She is in her seventies, and he is in his eighties. They have one dog that is a large Labrador mix. They love their dog very much. She walks the dog at least 4-6 times a day. Her husband requires a walker to get around, but he still talks to and plays with the dog. We can hear the excitement in their voices every time they talk about their dog. Do they really need a dog? Isn’t the dog more trouble than they need in their lives? They do need the dog, and the dog needs them. The dog isn’t any trouble because she is a labor of love. I can’t imagine how different they might be if they did not have their dog.
My point is that many seniors refuse to consider a pet as a companion because they say a pet will take up too much of their time and is too much trouble. To each their own, but most pets are not that difficult to care for, and there are many pet options beyond a dog. Cats, rabbits, ferrets, hamsters, fish, birds, etc., are all great pets to consider. Sometimes talking to yourself or yelling back at the TV gets old. Wouldn’t it be nice to talk to a cat or a bird, or even a dog once in a while? They are excellent listeners and seldom disagree with you or talk back. They have no political agenda, nor are they partisan to any party except pajama parties. Cats love a good pajama party.
If you are lonely and need someone to talk to, please consider adopting a pet for some quality companionship. They are not nearly as much trouble as you might think, and they bring you so much joy and love that when they require some effort, you won’t mind whatsoever. Really.
Give an animal a forever home today. Adopt, don’t shop unless you want to get some fish, then you need to purchase from a pet store.
Barry KuKes is the Community Outreach Director for the HHS, Daytona Beach. He can be reached at 386. 274.4703, ext. 320, or barryk@halifax humanesociety.org