"A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than you love yourself."
- Josh Billings, Author -
(Pen name for 19th century American humorist Henry Wheeler Shaw)
I was in my mid-fifties when she joined our family. I wasn't looking for another new pet after my two small poodles had passed.....long story. I wanted to be free with my empty nest and my husband without anyone to "take care of", at least for awhile. Then I inherited, Leona. Now in my early 60s, I am thankful for this little gift from God. She fills a lot of holes in my world.
There are lots of great reasons to own a pet, even when you are over 50. A pet can provide companionship and sometimes meet a medical need as in the case of seizures, stroke, and heart attacks. However, pet ownership should be considered with great care.
Taking on a pet is a serious consideration, no matter what pet we take, and even more so as we get older. The benefits of owning a pet are great, also, more so as we get older. So, we wonder - what's the right choice?
Here are some Pros and Cons to consider. This is not a complete list, but it will help in deciding if pet ownership is right for you.
1. Companionship - provides physical contact with another living thing, mutual unconditional love, and combats loneliness.
2. Security - some pets will let you know if a stranger is near or at your door. Some may provide protection against intruders.
3. Special Needs - Dogs can be trained to warn their owners of a coming seizure, can be trained to assist the blind, as well. There are many other valuable medical benefits from owning a dog
1. Expense - Some pets can be expensive to maintain. Food, vet bills, grooming,training, boarding, spay/neutering, vaccinations, etc.
2. Physical needs - Some pets need to be walked, handled, bathed, etc. This may be difficult for an older adult to keep up with.
3. Traveling - An older person may not be able to take their pet with when traveling, finding someone to care for your pet may be challenging.
4. Death - What happens to your pet if you should die? Sad to consider, I know, but who will take care of your pet if something should happen to you?
There may be other considerations, but these are the most common. Taking on a pet in some cases is similar to taking on a child. They have a lot of the same needs. While a bird may require less attention, everything above still applies to them. A fish may not require a lot of money, it still needs someone to care for it if you are gone for more than a few days. Dogs and cats provide the most reward, but they also require more from us.
1. Space - Do you have the space for a pet? For a dog, cat, or other animal that needs outdoor space, do you have that available? If it's a bird, fish, or other totally inside animal, do you have space in your home to provide adequate space for this pet?
2. Lifestyle - Are you home a lot? Do you travel more than you are home? Are you physically able to care for a pet? Do you live alone or with someone else? You must take the other person's needs into consideration, as well; especially, if you have grandchildren living with you.
3. Your Physical Health - Are you allergic to feathers? To cat hair? Fur dander? Can you give the pet the attention it needs? Walking? Changing litter boxes? Do you have a dependable person to help you with things you are physically unable to do?
4. Your Home - If you rent, are you allowed to have pets? Insurance, in case,someone get's bit or scratched?
Please don't let the above scare you off from getting a pet, however, pet ownership is not for everyone. If you take these tips into serious consideration, you should be able to decide if a pet is right for you and what kind of pet you should have.
"Animals are such agreeable friends - they ask no questions; they pass no criticisms."
- George Eliot, Author -
(Pen name of Mary Ann Evans, English novelist, poet journalist and translator.)
I love my little, Leona, but I do not think I will replace her when the time comes. Then again, maybe I will. ☺
Do you have a pet? Do you have a plan for this pet if something happens to you? Do you have the right pet for you and your family? Do you have any tips, comments, or questions about pet selection and ownership? Please share them so that others may benefit from your experience.