Monday, October 17, 2011

In praise of a Very Good Fit

I love being able to put on a fire when we come back from the woods on such a wild, wet day!   Seeing as there is nothing more soothing for my arthritis, it seems sensible to assume that holds true for the four footed members of my family circle too!
This week, I am turning fifty seven.    Does that make me more empathetic for all the little bits that come along with middle age?  You bet! 
At twenty seven, I likely would not have seen the need to put on a fire.   At thirty seven, I was still out earning the Queen's shilling and so was unavailable for pee breaks / walks / company for at least eight hours of the working days.  At forty seven, I was running the kind of busy department where I was often eating/ breathing / sleeping my job eight days a week.
Now, at almost fifty seven, I have found out first hand the truth of the old adage about retirees wondering when they ever had time to work!   
This morning when I was in the woods, I was thinking about story I want to do about a lovely pair of small senior sweeties that are still waiting for their ship to come in ... when I had an Ah Ha moment, as I often do in the woods!
Adopting senior pets is not simply an act of compassion ... it is a particularly good fit for the Freedom Fifty Five crowd! 
Why do old dogs actually learn new tricks faster and more easily than their younger counterparts?   Experience!   It is the same sort of thing that makes grandparents more confident with their grandkids, eh?
Now of course, I am not the first to realize that this is a match made in heaven!   Senior to senior adoption programs have been very successful wherever and whenever they have been implemented.   In my opinion, there really is no downside:
  • it has been my experience from my birds eye view of maintaining the homeless pet sites that the loveliest mature pets can 'wait on the shelf' for far too long ... which of course also ties up a rescue slot for others in need :(
  • folks who are ready for the companionship of a pet after losing a life long companion can often find the transition from living with a senior pet to a puppy or kitten quite a jolt to their systems ... and their lives
  • empty nesters are busy people .... and senior pets are ready to share all that right away!
  • at the risk of sounding crass, middle aged people are often more financially stable and until veterinarians start running free clinics that has to be considered for the well being of any pet.   (any empty nester will tell you that simply not having to grocery shop for teenagers is akin to winning the lottery, eh? )
  • and at the risk of being a bit earthy, in a world where the elephant in the room is usually fitted out with something from Poise, it is easier for senior pets to learn, or keep, good housetraining habits when living with someone at liberty to let them out and walk them more often!
  • and last, but definitely not least, is the obvious bit that the companionship of a pet has been proven to be very beneficial to one's physical and mental health.   Any government department devoted to senior welfare would be remiss to overlook such a simple and sensible way to improve the quality of life for seniors, eh?   The political party that ever wakes up to THAT will tap into a bigger goldmine than the legalizing pot promises!
So how are we doing here in Nova Scotia?    While there is no formal senior to senior adoption program, the climate is almost ripe for the idea.   
Back in the sad old days, before the society started on their New Path, Unhappy Tails for any pet over five were almost automatic.  Happily these days, most branches offer reduced fees for senior pets and in some instances even waive the adoption fee completely.  And while it cannot accommodate everyone, the Metro Shelter does have their award winning palliative care foster program for senior pets.
Outside of the society, it varies from rescue to rescue.    Senior kittizens at SHAID for instance, are often featured in adoption programs if they have been waiting for a while.    Atlantic Small Dog Rescue offers a lower adoption fee for their mature adoptables.   
The program that really caught my eye when I was rummaging around online is The Old Friends Program which is run by JCCARE ( Japanese Chin Care and Rescue Effort )
The program is pretty darned simple.  They have a crystal clear set of criteria that adopters must meet, such as still being physically active enough to walk their pet.   There is a special page on their website featuring all the eligible pets.   There is no confusion about the "Old Friends" adoption fees. 
What a wonderful way match mature pets with kindred spirits!   Even better, it is offered up with such clarity that interested adopters are encouraged to think about mature pet adoption!
Best of all of course is that beyond that, in a world where limited rescue resources are the rule, it reduces the risk of tying up rescue slots ... which in and of itself can be a lifesaver.
What time is it?   It is always the time and it is always the season for a really good idea! 

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