Unconditional love works both ways, eh?

It takes being retired to really understand just how much time dogs devote to napping every day. In this house there is the early nap following our first stroll ( there are no yard leashes here…. we all go out and tour the yard together), while they rest up for our hike in the woods. Then of course there is the post hike and breakfast nap …. not to be confused with the pre lunch snooze that follows.
After lunch there is another hike …. followed by siesta time…. and then another stroll while they investigate what I’ve been up to while they were snoozing … with yes another , pardon the phrase, catnap to get ready for supper.
Today, during the afternoon siesta, I was out tilling three of the garden beds. Yes its a hot job for an afternoon, but if the weeds are not kept under control in June, one might as well just till the whole thing under and plant a putting green. Its time well spent because a lot of my winter grocery shopping will be out of my own freezer and cold storage
There was a time, not all that long ago it seems, when I could go flat out and till all the garden beds in one shot. But I am fifty four, not thirty or even forty, so I’ve learned to pace myself a bit. Does that mean I’m ready to ‘go to the home” No way, not by a country mile.
My vision might not be what it once was and I might need to wear my fluffy slippers to keep my falling arches from having me hobbling around… but inside I am still the same gal I’ve always been. And if attractive young men call me Ma’am, not honey, at least the freedom fifty five crowd still think I look just fine.
In my perfect fantasy world, all pets would stay with their original guardians for life. After all, my pets have been more loyal and devoted than any man I ever married … and to be perfectly honest they have all had a much better grasp of the phrase “till death do we part” than any ex did.
(The subject of how we as guardians need to properly prepare for our pets’ future in the event that they outlive us has been, and likely will be again, many a separate rant for another day)
Just as I would not want to go into ‘the home’, neither do any of my furkids want to leave our family circle. They didn’t all grow up here, but they have all settled into the comfort and security of living with this middle aged granny.
So it saddens me to see so many senior pets listed on Kijiji…free to a good home. What a way to repay years of love and loyalty and devotion. ( the subject of why on earth couples get pets BEFORE they have the baby and then toss them aside without a second thought on Kijiji is another separate rant for another day)
For every problem there is a solution. Sometimes …. like the garden I’m tending right now, its not immediate. But there are better options out there than ditching the senior pet:

  • at the risk of sounding like a stuck record, anyone who thinks their future might not be rosy can’t afford NOT to have pet insurance. That is something that individuals can do now to protect their pets that doesn’t have to wait for programs to start or be fund raised for
  • most senior issues are pretty manageable…. honestly if it came down to it, I’d rather wear depends and live here …. and I’m sure any of the pets here feel the same way.
  • kindness pays off at any age, but something simple like the extra layer of a quilt on a dog bed can help seniors stay more mobile
  • I’ve noticed here in my own family circle that my two seniors seem to thrive on the company of the younger dogs and cats and most importantly, they both have more things to be interested in with having ‘friends’
  • the dog that didn’t need a coat and boots at three might be able to walk a little further on chilly days if they are bundled up
  • from my own experience with McG, I’ve become quite a proponent of wheat free diets for the over five crowd, and last but not least
  • to quote my friend Joan, ‘never underestimate the power of unconditional love’. Scientists have already proven that having a pet is good for human health ….. being confident and secure in the love of their human is just as good for our pets.

We trade in our cars before they get to be too much trouble. We redecorate and revamp. We upscale and downsize. Why is that fine? Because those are all things.

It is the hallmark of maturity to accept responsibility for those in our care. Right now, I probably spend more on McG at the vets than all the rest of the kids. Why do I do that? Besides the fact that it is the right and the responsible thing to do? Because he has been my very good friend for eleven years and I can’t imagine choosing an unhappy tail so that I could buy something/go somewhere or any such thing.

There will come a day when he won’t be by my side, but today is not that day. Nor will that day be coldly calculated by the cost of xrays/bloodwork and meds. Not for him. Not for any of them in time.

So forgive me if I have no patience with those who cannot stay the course. I really believe that John, Paul, George and Ringo had it all wrong with their bit about ‘the love you take is equal to the love you make” … at least when it comes to our pets.

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