Senior Dogs and Senior People – 4 Tips
Consider the following four tips though when deciding whether or not a senior human should adopt a senior dog.
It’s no secret that as we age, our bodies begin to break down. The same is true for dogs. Dogs develop arthritis, lose their vision and hearing, and all the rest, just like people. Should senior dogs and senior people live together? Or is it too much to ask that a senior human, who has to deal with the aging process in their own body, also take care of a dog going through similar issues. There are no absolutes when talking about who should get a senior dog and who shouldn’t. Consider the following four tips though when deciding whether or not a senior human should adopt a senior dog.
1. Aging sucks, but it doesn’t have to
No one likes to get old, so to say. Losing the ability to play as hard and recover quickly, isn’t fun. That doesn’t mean that a person can’t enjoy their senior years though. One way to really appreciate your senior years is to go your own pace. It is no secret that an 80-year-old human won’t be able to run as fast or as far as a 20-year-old. Such reasoning is an excellent case as to why senior humans and senior dogs should live together. Both go the same pace. Grandpa doesn’t have any interest in running a marathon, and neither does grandpaw. Senior dogs and senior humans are nicely paired in terms of activity level.
Senior dogs and senior people are also nicely paired because it is nice to have some solidarity when aging. An 80-year-old telling her 15-year-old granddaughter that aging is no fun is like two people communicating in different languages. The 15-year-old has no perspective on what her grandmother is going through, and the grandmother knows it, and that doesn’t help the situation. Even though humans and dogs don’t speak the same language, we all feel. When a senior person notices their dog having trouble getting up because of arthritis, she understands. She doesn’t push the dog to go faster, because she has arthritis herself. While we many not be able to scientifically prove that the dog recognizes that his owner also has arthritis, a bond is developed because of it. That dog knows that his owner cares for him, and comforts him when necessary. That kind of understanding creates a strong bond. This bond not only helps the human partner, but the dog as well.
2. Financial considerations
Aging can be expensive. As our bodies begin to break down, we need to invest more to upkeep them. Often times this investment appears in the form of medications. A senior human considering adopting a senior dog needs to consider if they have the financial means to not only care for themselves, and perhaps a partner, but a senior dog as well. That senior dog may need special medication as well. Adopting a senior dog, and not having the means to provide a high quality of life is something that should be avoided. Dogs deserve the best too, and in some cases, certain senior people, no matter what their intentions, may not be able to provide the best.
3. Everyday care
Dogs need to be cared for every day. They need to be let outside, fed, watered, and loved. It is important that a senior dog’s owner be able to physically care for him. If the owner is so sick or weak that she cannot get out of bed to let her dog outside, adopting a senior dog may not be a good plan. In some cases senior humans live with children, or have hospice workers who help them. It is important to make sure that whoever is the senior human’s helper is capable and comfortable with helping out a dog as well. In some cases the senior human helper may love helping out with a dog, in others, they may not.
One thing that is great about senior dogs and senior humans living together is that both need exercise, but both are at the same state in life. Maybe a senior human only has the ability to walk around the block. There is a good chance that such activity will be just what their senior dog needs. Because senior dogs and senior humans are similarly paired in terms of exercise, they can be each other’s encouragement. Maybe the senior human is having a tough day, and taking a walk may seem like a little much. The senior dog can encourage the senior human to get outside, even for just a little bit. This works both ways. Maybe the senior dog doesn’t want to walk, but upon starting a walk with their senior human, they are encouraged to keep up.
As I said, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to senior humans adopting senior dogs. There are many things to consider, and these four points are only some of the basics. Talking to a vet and family are a great way to get the conversation rolling about adopting a senior dog, as a senior human.