Sunday, March 21, 2010

Finding the Best Way

Sam is like a poster boy for all the best bits that senior pets bring to the table. All the different legs of his journey to Nova Scotia added up to well over a couple of thousand kilometers .... and what did he do when he arrived? Wagged his tail, had a sniff around the yard and settled in on the deck with a chewie. Every single person who sheltered him on the way was smitten with his sweet personality, including his new foster Mom at East Coast German Shepherd Rescue.
But what REALLY impressed his foster Mom is how Sam stayed so calm and relaxed when her own boisterous puppy bounced over and barked in his face!
I know I go on and on like a stuck record about senior pets. I know that some people wouldn't want to miss any part of the whole lifetime experience. I know that adopting a senior pet isn't for everyone ( only for those partial to sleeping through the night, who might not have time to train, who are looking for a buddy who is ready to go now, who don't want to wonder how big their new friend will be, etc..... :)))))
But I also see how many great dogs get left in the lurch when they turn eight. Even worse are the ones who become homeless later ... there are very few rescues and shelters that will accept an elderpet over the age of eight:(((
But I'm wandering afield here because (surprisingly .... lol ) I don't just want to talk about senior pets.
Years ago, when I brought my baby daughter home from the hospital, my best friend's cat fell in love with her. Everyday he would follow us home .... and when I would bring him back to her, he'd be back on my step before I'd get back to the house. He used to sit near her and purr and purr. It was horrible for her .. because she loved him and took very good care of him... but we both finally understood that he had chosen to be my cat.
Once she was out of the crib, Mr Fritz slept with her for the rest of his life. He moved with us from Alberta to New Brunswick to Ontario and finally here to Greenwood.
This was back in the stone ages ... when it was thought to be quite normal to let a cat out when he wanted to. In spite of being neutered, Mr Fritz always liked to have a little hunt everyday and wasn't above having the odd scrap with any interlopers on his turf.
When we were in Gagetown, he was hit by a car and in spite of the vets best efforts the leg couldn't be saved and so it eventually had to be amputated. We were so worried whether we were making the right choice for him, but we simply couldn't bear the thought of sentencing him to death.
For the rest of his life, once he was recovered from the surgery, Mr Fritz still wanted to have a little hunt everyday and have the odd scrap. In fact, the only time we noticed he was a tripod was when I would be cooking a turkey. Then we would be treated to the dramatic performance we used to refer to as the turkey trot. He would limp slowly out to the kitchen, fling himself down on the floor in front of the stove ... stump side up .... so that we would know how much he deserved some of that bird: ))))
He was with us for almost ten years after that and would have been twenty two the year he passed away.
Pets just don't bring our human hangups to the table about disabilities. You would never know, to look at the picture below, that Tango had just made the long journey from New Hampshire, which was part of the longer journey from the south. ( After narrowly escaping a horrible Unhappy Tail in a high kill southern shelter, adjusting to travelling and a new life in Nova Scotia seems small potatoes indeed, eh? )
I'm probably never going to tweet or any number of new things that come out because I am a dinosaur who only uses my mobile for emergencies. But I do love the way that facebook saves so many lives and connects rescues around the continent.
It transcends provincial, state and national borders and it doesn't just save individual lives like Sam's and Tango's. Its also awakening the consciousness of animal lovers everywhere about dog politics and the need for pawsitive change.
One kind heart at a time, people are learning to be better pet owners, awakening to the injustices committed against the animals and learning a new No Kill vocabulary. They are learning these lessons from their friends and their friends friends.
At the end of the day, facebook is teaching our children well ... or at least reaching more of them than any of our animal welfare websites do.
So before the keyboards catch on fire about bringing dogs in from away ... take a page from the facebook process that saves southern lives. It would work just as well here, eh?
"Even those who fancy themselves the most progressive will fight against other kinds of progress, for each of us is convinced that our way is the best way." Louis L'Amour

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