Seniors Today Newspaper
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When Your Pet Is All You Have

by Barry KuKes

Many seniors live alone and have no family except for their faithful furry friend companion. My wife is a pet sitter, and she has many clients who need her assistance to clean litter boxes or walk their dog two to three times a day be-cause they can no longer perform these tasks themselves.

Some seniors are fortunate to have many friends who will volunteer to help, but this is not a reliable solution, for friends are not always available. Like many pet sitters, my wife tries to accommodate seniors with physical limitations by offering reduced rates for services. Still, even a small amount of payment is too much for some seniors.

Planning for the future of your pet is vital to maintain their accustomed style of living. Some seniors may need to prepare for their pets’ end-of-life services or rehoming of their pet should the senior pass before the pet. Some seniors have prearranged for these situations, so the transition of their pets’ life or passing is smooth and trouble-free. A basic last will and testament can be created with the aid of an estate attorney. Get something in writing to communicate your wishes for your pet correctly. Don’t leave their future up to chance or the interpretation of friends or family.

It amazes me how many seniors have no family to depend upon for assistance until I looked at my own life. All my family is really my wife’s family, not my blood relatives. I have a couple of distant first and second cousins, but we are not close enough geographically or relationship-wise to call upon them to take care of my dogs if my wife and I were to pass. We have planned for our dogs should they outlive both of us.

Pets are family, and they depend on you, their mom, or dad to care and provide for them. To avoid rehoming or surrendering your pet to a shelter, explore other options like third-party services, neighbors, friends, and family members to see if they can offer a solution.

There are many seniors in their 90s who have pets, and they care for their pets fine without any additional help. However, there are people of all ages who sometimes, due to illness or injury, need help with their pets for a few months or a year. If you are one of these people, research your options so your pet can be kept safe, healthy, and at home. If you are thinking about getting a new furry friend, 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. 320, or