Having volunteered with various animal welfare organizations over the years, I am all too familiar with the incessant problems that plague those of us in animal rescue. It was no different at the small, humane society in West Virginia where I was a volunteer and a member of the Board of Directors.
In the spring of 2004, the shelter, in typical fashion, housed several cats and kittens awaiting adoption. One of these cats, a huge, male Siamese mix with the most beautiful blue eyes, resided in a small kitchen that connected the dog and cat kennel areas. His name was Bubby and he was 13-years-old.
Through no fault of his own, Bubby had been a member of various households over the years. When he should have been living out his golden years in a nice home, he instead resided at a small shelter where, due to his advanced age, the odds of him finding a forever home were not favorable. Did I mention he also had an eye infection that would result in the surgical removal of that eye? For a senior, one-eyed cat, the chances of a forever home were slim.
My family and I, which at the time consisted of two adults, two young daughters, two dogs and two other cats, adopted Bubby, making him a permanent member of our family. We had eight absolutely wonderful years with Bubby, before he passed away peacefully at the ripe old age of twenty-one years. He was quite possibly the most loving and laid-back cat we have ever known. While some may lament that our time with him was relatively short, we were extremely grateful to have had those eight years.
When we moved back to Pittsburgh, we adopted a senior Cocker Spaniel, named Fluffy, that had entered Animal Friends as a stray. At the time, Animal Friends was in the process of moving from its location on Penn Avenue to its current location. To ease her transition to the new facility, our family took her home, as a medical foster Shortly afterwards she too became a permanent member of our household.
|Fluffy with Debbie's daughters|
Calvin, a now 14 ½- year-old Chihuahua joined our family 18 months ago. Just this week, we adopted Patches, now known as Cleo, a 13-year-old Toy Poodle mix.
|Cleo - Photo by: Linda Mitzel|
This is just the beginning of our desire to adopt senior pets. My family’s philosophy is this: we would rather have a few short years with our beloved animal companions than no years at all. We like to think of our seniors as wise and gentle souls, not to be pitied but to be nurtured and loved for whatever time they have left on this earth.
They give us so much more than we could ever give them, for they provide us their unwavering love and devotion in exchange for a gentle touch, a kind word, consistent meals, and a warm bed to lay their tired bodies. As I write this, my fervent wish is that more people would consider opening their hearts and homes to senior animals.