saving seniorsby Julie Randall, LDDR foster/volunteer
So many seniors get dumped at shelters for various reasons. Sometimes some lose their person to death or extended illness and no one in the family can take them. And sometimes they get turned in due to their age, period. And there are of course a dozen other reasons that may not have anything to do with their age but their age just complicates the success of them getting out of a shelter or pound.
And that cycle is so important. It helps soften the blow for those who find themselves on a different path. For those that are beyond that point in their lives here on Earth. As some their leaving their fosters home means leaving this world. It means crossing the Rainbow Bridge with the support of their foster. While any foster could find themselves in that situation, and likely will if they foster long enough, to foster seniors and special needs has to greatly increase the odds.
This is on my mind today as we lost a sweet soul this morning to the battery and neglect she experienced before coming to LDDR. She was in poor condition when she arrived and yet had the most calming spirit about her. Arrival nights can be a little hectic and often are a bit of a blur for the few I have been at. But that’s what I remember about Kate from that night. And over the past weeks her foster mom has posted updates. Just last week her foster mom posted her in a Halloween costume. She wasn’t real sure about the whole dress up thing, but she played along nicely. And she was at the MuttFest event a couple weeks ago. Yes she was older. Her hips gave her grief but she seemed content and was thriving. The real hope was to find her a forever home. Two days ago a post went on our Facebook page asking for prayers for her declining health and the response was greatly appreciated. I am often humbled by people’s responses and support. For Kate, it is no different. As many fellow volunteers have said this morning she was loved and as one pointed out she loved her foster.
So as difficult as her death may be to process, it does many things. It reminds us that our dogs both personal and foster, are only here a short time and we need to make the most of their lives. It bolsters our resolve to search a little harder for the ‘right home’ for those in our homes as that makes room for the next. And for some fosters like me, it results in a contemplation of whether foster’s going forward should be seniors. They are after all so in need, so deserving and so appreciative.
I myself have had one senior, Mack. He came to me at 11. He had spent much of his life largely homebound with his person. He has arthritis in his hips. He is now living an amazing life. His ‘mom’ is able to take him to work with her. She says he gets his nose out of joint when she leaves him home on a work day. He loves meeting people. He’s even in a print ad for her work. Knowing the life he is living gives me such great joy. He deserves it. They all do. His mom mentioned to me in passing the other week he is starting to slow down. While a little sad, I realized we sometimes have to look at the life our companions have in terms of quality and not quantity. After all tomorrow isn’t promised for any of us.
So while a seniors time with us usually will not be as long, they provide in our lives the same quality experience we hope they know we want to provide for them. They all deserve it. The seniors just might not have as long to find it. While a senior isn’t for everyone, when seeking your companion, consider whether a senior will fit into your home.