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June 10, 2009 > Ohlone Humane Society: I dream of a place...

Ohlone Humane Society: I dream of a place...

By Nancy Lyon

When people think of adopting an animal companion they often think of a puppy or kitten and without a doubt these little creatures are warm, cuddly, and charming. However, people sometimes forget that these youngsters demand a lot of patience, knowledge and energy for them to develop into wonderful companions and family members.

"Seasoned" animals can have just as many wonderful qualities and you don't have to wait years for those traits to develop. Older animals are ready to give their love and gratitude for your willingness to take them into your heart and home. You are rewarded with unwavering devotion and nothing matches their love and appreciation for their rescuer...it's a very special relationship.

The question often arises if they are so great why are they in shelters or rescues? Why didn't someone come to reclaim them? Why would anyone just give them away? What's wrong with them? The answers are as many and complex as human beings.

In difficult financial times, the animals are often the first to be given away. It isn't always an easy choice and many people will choose a lesser lifestyle rather than give up the animal members of their family. Some may have no choice and others will just not care enough.

It could also be the loss of a beloved guardian through illness or death, divorce, losing a home, a "guardian" who did not want to care for an ageing "pet." Unfortunately, these reasons impact senior animals at a time in their lives when they need the love and companionship of their family the most. The end result is that they often end up bewildered and dying in an animal shelter.

Sometimes people are reluctant to adopt an older animal because of the fear that your time with your new best friend will be shorter than with younger animals, bringing that painful time of loss closer. But the privilege of loving a senior animal makes every single day special, as you and your companion share love and friendship. It's a special relationship that grows stronger with the knowledge that you have given this fine old friend a second chance at a life full of love and acceptance. It has been said that the love that grows from this knowledge is stronger than the pain of eventual separation.

Consider that seniors have learned the "rules of the road, many of life's lessons that come only with time. Senior dogs, for example, know that shoes are for walking and not for chewing. They enjoy a little exercise, but the best part of the day is the nap and they love for you to join them. They find the softest, warmest spot in the house and claim it for their own, but they are more than willing to share it with you.

One senior looking for her forever home is "Bebe," a 14-year-old beautiful, black cat surrendered to the Tri-City Animal Shelter in Fremont by her owner because they have a newborn baby and Bebe showed her displeasure in a classic cat manner by not using her sandbox. Since she has come into the shelter she has shown no signs of a urinary problem. Bebe is waiting for that new loving indoor retirement home that she can share with a person who appreciates her many good qualities and where she can dream in the sun.

Our local shelters have many wonderful companion animals waiting perhaps for...you. Greying faces search for that special person who will notice them and not rush by to look at the younger animals. Because they are often overlooked in shelters, they are the ones often euthanized when room becomes limited and someone must go to make space. They have so much to offer, please think about adopting a senior shelter animal - it saves a beautiful life.

I dream of a place...

I dream of a place where I can be safe,
and I am free to just be me.
I dream of a place where I am loved, cherished,
and all around, I am loved for me.
I dream of a place where I can rest in peace,
and I have value, because I am just me.
I dream of a place where I can be special,
for no other reason than just because I'm me.
~ Author unknown

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