Letters to the Editor

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PETS: Older animals still have a lot to give

Letter by David L. Shaw, Lakewood on July 29, 2011 at 1:14 pm with 10 Comments »
July 29, 2011 1:14 pm

Re: “Many feline friends still in need” (TNT, 7-29).

We lost “Emmabean” a few years ago (possibly to coyotes). I still went to the Tacoma shelter daily to see if she had been found. Resigned that she was gone for good, I began looking at other cats at “the pound.” One in particular caught my eye.

“Odie” was 9 years old. For whatever reason, someone had dropped her off earlier that day. She was lying down quietly, but when I approached the cage, she got up, walked over, bumped my hand and purred loudly. We took her home.

Odie limps due to arthritis and a botched declawing earlier in her life, and cannot squat low enough to eliminate inside a normal litter box. She is provided with meds to ease the arthritis, a deeper box so she can eliminate inside the box and a “shower curtain” of two plastic bags for the occasional overspray.

Her gentle, loving nature more than makes up for the little bit of expense and accommodations needed to make her healthy and happy. Someone gave up on an older, very wonderful animal.

Kittens/puppies are appealing due to their cuteness and energy. I get that. But please consider adopting the older animals. Like our Odie, they can brighten our lives as they get an extension on theirs.

Also consider making an occasional contribution to organizations such as the Tacoma/Pierce County Humane Society, Cascade Animal Protection Society or Rolling Dog Farm, whose focus is on animals with extreme disabilities.

Leave a comment Comments → 10
  1. Good for Mr. Shaw! Could not agree more with what he said. We just adopted a stray, and subsequently found out he is 17 years old. Now he has a home, is adpating to the other pets well, and is a great addition. Yes, he needs some special care, especially initially, but Mr. Shaw is right when he says “(T)hey can brighten our lives as they get an extension on theirs.”

    To add to what he said, if you have an older pet, don’t just dump it on the street or have it put down. Take the effort to find it a new home. As you can see, there are people who will love older animals.

  2. concernedtacoma7 says:

    Very honorable Mr Shaw. Unfortunately I am guilty of adopting a kitten 7 years ago. When I am ready for a 3rd cat (I married into one), I will definately be looking at older cats.

  3. surething says:

    All of our babies are rescues, and the only go outside with us. No roaming.

  4. itwasntmethistime says:

    I’ve never had a baby animal for a pet. All of our pets, my whole life, have been used.

  5. harleyrider1 says:

    Thank you for your kindness.

  6. bobbysangelwife says:

    ALL of our animals, since I was a little girl (I’m now in my 40’s), have been shelter pooches! BEST animals EVER!! :)
    Our first dog was Brandy–1980, male, Shep/Lab mix, 1 year old. Lived a ripe old age of 14.
    Tucker–my brother found on the side of the road. Male, Shep/Lab/Rott….dumb as stump, but he was entertaining and so sweet. We lost him to AIDS (born without an immune system), when he was just 4 years old.
    Bones–abandoned on top of a house by his mama at 6 weeks old. Infested with fleas, had a tendency to puke his entire 15 years, couldn’t use the litterbox properly but he sure made his best effort.
    And now…Tango…found her in a no-kill shelter in Oregon. Took my brother with me to find a pooch–he was a dog trainer. Out of 20 dogs that were initially selected…Tango rose to the top and I took her home that day. She was 1.5/2yrs old. She had been adopted 2 times and returned to the shelter–can’t for the life of me figure out why. She was perfectly trained, is a self-punisher (I rarely have to scold her), does well with kids over 5, and I didn’t even know she could bark for the first 5 months I had her! :)
    I can’t figure out why she was returned those times, but I believe it was due to her cough. Tango had a persistent cough that flares up now and then. Took us a few years to figure out what it was, but she was finally diagnosed with Chronic Inflammation of the Lungs. It’s manageable with meds….it’s not been cheap though thru-out the years….lots of money that we really didn’t have to spare…but we did it, because we absolutely love and adore her. She’s been there through divorce, multiple moves, and deployments. I call her my ‘therapy dog’ because she truly is therapeutic for my family.

    I know this is long, but I just wanted to share how adopting a ‘mutt’ or saving a kitten’s life can benefit not just the critter, but the human as well. :)

  7. nwcolorist says:

    Aw, gee. Now I feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

    Thanks for an uplifting story.

  8. The oldest dog i adopted was a 5 year old Scottie. Wonderful dog. Only lived a few more years because of cancer. Next oldest was (is) a Shi Tsu mix. Got her when her owner died. Daisy was also 5. Wasn’t expected to live long as she had some throat problem. That was ten years ago. Still have her. Very sweet dog.

  9. dinseattle says:

    Thank you Mr. Shaw! I do pet rescue and I specialize more in the elderly and/or special needs animals. I also do hospice for animals. When people look at these dogs and cats, they see old, sick or whatever. What I see are animals that were once sick are now healthy and ready for a home of their own. I see their unique personalities in how they communicate with each other and me. Speaking of, I have 3 elderly maine coons in my office right now that like to take over my chair, my computer, or wherever else, and they believe themselves to be my supervisors. They jabber all day to me. They’re just looking for a permanent home. We did the Pet Expo out at Puyallup and while everyone gravitated to them immediately, as soon as they found out their age, all they saw was an old cat. That’s okay. Some day their “new” family will come for them and both human and animals will be joyous. Until then, I guess they can just take over the office. They’re not bad company. So, please, when you go to that shelter or look on Petfinder for an animal, consider an older one – they have a lot to give and no surprises. They’re just happy and content to have your love and they accept you unconditionally.

  10. Kinimesa says:

    Adopting older animals is wonderful. There is satisfaction in knowing they will have safety, love and care through the end of their lives. It’s hard because you don’t have them as long as a younger animal and you have to be prepared for medical expenses. Most older dogs do not simply go to sleep in reasonable health and not wake up. I adopted my Kahnee at 7 years of age, had her for 4 years ad went through losing her to Cushings disease. She had all I could give to the end. Older dogs do have much love to give and they know the ropes. I am grateful to everyone here who adopts and goes for the long haul.

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