Pets Warm a Senior’s Life

Pets Warm a Senior’s Life

Jim Lipman, GoFind Inc.

Alyssa Terwilliger

As we age, we find that the activities and interactions we love increasingly vanish, taking small joys out of our lives. These losses can be something as simple as the end of a weekly golf game with a long-time neighbor who has moved away, or as devastating as the death of a dearly-loved spouse. Whether the loss is big or small, all people want to fill empty places in our lives. One way to warm those empty spaces? Adopt a pet.

My wife and I have shared the past 30 years of our lives with cats, and I can say that pets add love and companionship at many levels. What kind of pet a senior should adopt depends on many factors, including the health and mobility of the individual and their living arrangements. A fairly active senior living in a home with a back yard might want to adopt a dog, enjoying the chance to get out for daily walks and the social set at the dog park. Someone who spends more time in their home might opt for a cat, or even a bird or fish. 

If you’re thinking about adopting a dog or cat for a senior, I would advise adopting an older animal – their personalities are set (what you see is what you get), you can avoid the extra effort needed to train a puppy or kitten, and those destructive baby years are behind them. Adopting a pet from a local animal shelter or rescue organization is a win-win situation for the senior and the animal – there are so many orphaned and homeless animals in shelters waiting for loving homes.

Having a pet is not for every senior, but a companion animal can add so much joy to a person’s life. It is definitely something to consider as we experience life’s changes and losses as we grow older.

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