It’s something that you have heard more than once and yes it comes from those who are fortunate enough to have rescued and adopted a pet (specifically cats and dogs) . . . “it’s the best thing I have ever done”.
When so many people have the same response about pets, it’s worthy of consideration and action.
As a Senior this act of kindness might result in changing your ways. However, a pet becomes a family member, a friend, a buddy, a valued companion who will show their love and devotion even on your hardest days and will always be grateful for your care.
Look at it this way, on what you may believe to be having a bad day, you open the front door to your home or apartment and there before your eyes is someone who eagerly awaits greeting you. It’s this small amount of attention and affection from a pet that can truly turn your day around.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I know that if you have goldfish, tropical fish, or birds’ affection may not be immediately noticed and it surely will not be seen at your front door. Although I have heard some owners of trained cockatoos receiving an initial joyful greeting (just please be sure to close the door very quickly).
So, what’s this about rescuing and adopting a pet versus purchasing a pet? From personal experience, I have found that there is nothing better than rescuing an animal, maybe because it’s simply rewarding knowing you are saving a life. Especially, if you do this through a well-known and accredited animal shelter and there are many to choose from (ASPCA suggested).
Understand that a trusted shelter will also want to know lots about you as a possible rescuer, meaning there are questions that must be answered. This is done because the shelter wants to assure that the rescued animal will be well-cared for in their new surroundings.
Yes, there are some registration fees that are required by the shelter. However, these fees are much less than the cost of purchasing a new pet (usually a cute puppy) that you really have no history other than its breed and gender.
The advantages of rescuing from a shelter are many. The shelter staff knows the personality and traits of the animals in their care. They are medically treated by vetinarians and are usually groomed. In many scenarios the rescued pet may also be pre-trained, or house broken and identity chipped. Let’s be honest many Seniors may not have the patience or willingness to train an animal.
However, I am a firm believer that a rescued animal knows it has been rescued. In turn it will show its appreciation with unlimited love, and in so doing will become a valued new family member.
When a decision was made that we wanted to rescue a dog, we met with the shelter officials (at a local ASPCA) and discussed what we were looking for. In our situation and previously being dog owners, we knew what we were looking for. This included size, breed, age and personality. With this provided information it was only a matter of a few weeks before we were invited to meet a candidate for rescue.
Of course, we were excited and eagerly awaited this meeting. Surprise, surprise we were introduced to a sweet and shy dog that had been delivered to the shelter undernourished and matted meaning he had to be completely shaved. My God, this dog even was wearing a cone protector on its head as it had recently been inoculated. It was sort of frightening, but we were re-assured by the shelter staff that this was one very sweet and smart dog. They knew it was an unidentified terrier breed which we later found out was a mixed breed (white and black) cockapoo, who was two years old and trained.
As soon as they released the dog in the meet and greet room, he came right up to us and wanted nothing but to be held. Tough to turn this down.
So, we decided this little dog was for us and after some five years we could not be any happier with our newest family member. He literally runs the house!
Meet our love . . . Robbie (then & now).
Look, I know that rescuing an animal is somewhat challenging, but the payoff of love and friendship is surely worth the challenge. Remember, I told you so even when you must walk your dog in unpleasant weather, think of this minimal chore as your staying in shape!
And one final note, it’s important to maintain your pet’s health by scheduling visits to trusted vetinarians. Because checking your pet’s health is just as important as checking your health, except in your case we would suggest a certified physician rather than vetinarians.
Stephen Dick is the president of SDMC, a full service creative marketing communications resource – www.sdmc-nj.com
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