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September 27, 2011 > Ohlone Humane Society: The golden years

Ohlone Humane Society: The golden years

By Nancy Lyon

It's been said that "blessed is the person who has earned the love of an old dog," and that can be said of any senior animal. Without question, if you have rescued or adopted a mature critter, their gratitude and devotion is touching because they know you have given them a chance to spend their golden years valued and cherished... accepted for who they are... including a few silver hairs and a past.

The passage of time has taught them greater patience and the value of peaceful moments with their new family. They make far less demands on you and gratefully accept what time you have to share with them.

Senior companion animals arrive at shelters for many reasons.

They may not be reclaimed because of impound fees with people unwilling or unable to pay. They may be turned in because their family can no longer afford to give them the care and food they need, or their human companion dies or must go into a living situation where they can't have animals, or they have become physically unable to care for them.

Families faced with the disaster of home foreclosure may find they are unable to pay costly rental fees to keep an animal. If they have more animals than allowed, they may be forced to make the terrible choice of who stays and who goes, with older animals often the loser.

When seniors end up in animal shelters they are often passed over for younger models. In a shelter situation, older animals may get a fleeting kind word as people quickly move on, never knowing they have overlooked a treasure.

This is particularly sad because a seasoned veteran can offer so much.

Unlike more action-oriented youngsters, they have learned to appreciate a little "down-time" with family. A companionable afternoon snooze can be just as inviting as a long walk yet they are always ready to be your buddy on strolls - still doing a happy little dance of anticipation. Leisurely car rides are high on their list of wonderful things to do. They settle in more easily because they've learned what it takes to get along with others and be part of a family.

Younger animals, like their human counterparts, demand more of your time and attention. When a person is dead-set on a young animal, it can be humorous to see the light bulb go on when you walk them down memory lane and what is really involved. All young things require patience and energy on your part and if you want time to yourself without being constantly on the go - it's wise to consider a more laid-back mature animal companion.

With a few years on them, personalities are pretty much formed and traits that will fit well with your family and lifestyle are more easily seen, while younger animals are still working on who they are.

Many great animals are waiting in shelters and rescues for that special person who can see the treasure beyond the graying muzzle. They are not second-hand animals; they are just seasoned by life and ready to love again.

Learn more about the care and rescue of senior animals:

Muttville Senior Dog Rescue -; (415) 641-1331
Ohlone Humane Society -; (510) 792-4587
Grateful Dog Rescue -; (415) 587-1121

(Quote by Sydney Jeanne Seward)

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