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February 27, 2008 > Ohlone Humane Society: Aged to perfection

Ohlone Humane Society: Aged to perfection

By Nancy Lyon

No matter what the species, young creatures captivate us with their joy and zest for life. And it's no different in an animal shelter, the first words spoken by visitors are often "do you have puppies or kittens?" It seems that it matters little that in a very short while they will no longer be that enchanting ball of fluff and vitality.

Meanwhile, other eyes watch with resignation and sadness as again and again they are passed by people who are unable to see the treasure that sits quietly in the kennel or cage. They wait patiently for that special someone who will recognize their value and take them into their heart and home.

A graying muzzle or a slight limp may mean that a life that offers unquestioning and unwavering devotion will be overlooked. People may say a kind word but most will move on. Move on and never know what they have missed.

What does an older animal have to offer?

First of all - they know that you have saved them and they are grateful and would lay down their lives for you. Devotion of this magnitude cannot be measured by any standard and is priceless and unique.

Older animals have learned patience and the value of a little quiet time with their beloved family. They make far less demands on your time and gratefully accept what time you have to share with them. As someone said, "they handle life with an inspiring grace and confidence."

Adults are instant companions. Older dogs are ready to be your buddy joining you on walks, car trips, and other things you like to do. Senior kitties are more than willing to nap in your lap and play with you when you are available.

Your chances of getting a good night's sleep are much better. Older animals are accustomed to human schedules and don't generally need nighttime feedings, comforting, or bathroom breaks. They will settle in more easily because they've learned what it takes to get along with others and become part of the family.

One of the biggest perks is that what you see is what you get. Unlike younger critters, older animals have grown into their shape and personality and you will have a better idea of who they are. Young animals can grow up to be quite different from what they seemed at first.

As our economy wobbles and increasingly people are facing foreclosures on their homes, companion animals are facing an even greater loss - not only their homes but their beloved family. Reports are coming in from shelters all over the country of people already facing financial loss who are unable to pay the hefty deposits required in rental situations. Many rentals limit the number of animals and will consider only smaller animals. Large breed dogs will often not be accepted no matter how well-mannered Exhausting available options many people are forced to do what at one time was unthinkable...surrender their beloved animals to shelters.

With a greater number of older animals coming into shelters and rescues, and becoming available for adoption, we urge you to consider that older doesn't mean second-hand, it means seasoned, grateful and ready to love again.

While the following quote by Sydney Jeanne Seward addresses dogs, the sentiment may be expressed of many of animals, "Blessed is the person who has earned the love of an old dog."

To learn more about the care and rescue of senior animals see the resources below.

Ohlone Humane Society: or call (510) 792-4587.
Muttville Senior Dog Rescue: or call (415) 641-1331.
Grateful Dog Rescue: or call (415) 587-1121.

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