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11:39 PM Tue, Nov. 13th

Turn the negatives of adopting an aging pet into positives

Toby Frost has a soft heart for aging pets.

Courtesy photo

Toby Frost has a soft heart for aging pets.

One of my weaknesses, and admittedly I have a few, is abandoned old dogs and cats.

Nothing must be more terrifying to a dog or cat, after spending most of their lives in a comfortable home, then suddenly finding themselves homeless, through no fault of their own.

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We have all heard the reasons for these surrenders: the pet owner has passed away or can no longer care for the pet; the pet owner has lost their home or must relocate; the pet has medical issues that are difficult to manage, or the pet owner has had a lifestyle change and the companion animal on longer fits in.

As rescuers with a soft spot for these ol’ guys, we are then faced with another issue. We have all heard the reasons for not adopting older pets: the adopter just lost a pet and does not want to go through that again too soon; the pet may have health issues or habits that are unknown; or the pet may not fit into an active lifestyle.

But wait, let’s turn those negatives into positives. An older pet teaches us the grace and compassion that a briefer, but poignant, friendship can provide; the older pet with medical or behavioral needs leads us to new knowledge and training skills; and an older pet coaxes us into a gentler place and reminds us to sometimes just sit and watch the sunrise.

Remember those beautifully wrapped mystery gifts with big bows that enticed us to order from mail order catalogs? (And if you don’t, please just respectfully nod anyway.) I look at these senior dogs and cats just like those surprise packages.

They have forced me to step out of my “predictable safe place” when I take a chance with them and I tell you what, I have yet to be disappointed.

I urge you to look over some of the delightful seniors on our website, unitedanimalfriends.org, or check out the seniors that wait for a home at Petey’s Playground or Circle L, Yavapai Humane Society and Canine Rescue and Adoptions.

And don’t forget the older mellow lap cats that need a home through United Animal Friends, Miss Kittys Cat House or Catty Shack Rescue. Your beautifully wrapped gift with a beseeching bow is waiting for you there.

Toby Frost has been involved in horse/dog/cat rescue since the mid 1990s, she is one of a dedicated group of volunteers who helped start United Animal Friends in 2002 and has served as President of UAF since 2010.