By Dawn M. Aerts
Like many people moving into their ‘golden years’ I have to wonder if my next ‘canine’ adoption will be different from our past family decisions.
We have long shared a fascination with the Bichon Frise. They are the quirky, curious and dependent type known to spend hours on your lap, in your bed, and on your pillow if allowed. Our past experience with a Bichon and a King Charles Cavalier Spaniel ‘mix’ was endearing.
Our next family pet was a unique mix of cute-as-can-be Shih Tzu with the Welsh Corgi known for their intelligent behaviors. And while many of my friends have a passion for the Golden Retriever, a dog willing to jump for joy at a moment’s notice, a sound chocolate Lab or Border Collie is likewise great fun with a boisterous attitude.
That said, dogs generally provide a better quality of life. But in 10 to 15 years, will I be up to the demands of a certain breed or behavior type? Or will a quiet little Spaniel be the one I’m best suited to? Since I live near Kanarraville, I can always walk out my back door and engage a ‘bored’ Retriever in a game of fetch on an open pasture.
But I won’t always be able to lift a 70 pound Tibetan Mastiff when they decide to wander into the neighbor’s yard.
In other words, smaller, healthy dogs sometimes make good sense as we approach retirement age. And you might say ‘size does matter’ when choosing a companion for the golden years. Likewise, the issues of energy level and health history come into play. If you choose to adopt a small dog hoping he’ll be easier to entertain than a large one, chances are you’re not familiar with a bouncing Jack Russell.
Meanwhile, retirees on a fixed income are wise to consider health history. Most vets will tell you, that a sound dog — is an affordable dog. That said, one of the hardest parts of aging is deciding to give up a pet due to health or physical issues. The upside for dog and cat owners, is that studies show that pets can lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and stress levels, and they can even lift our moods.
For that reason alone, I’ll be a dog and cat owner for a long time to come.
That said, it’s clear that seniors should consider adopting an older dog or cat as a companion animal. The adult dog is more likely to have a recorded health history, a calmer temperament, and you can avoid the costs and time required to raise a puppy. Likewise, a local dog shelter is often the best place to find and adopt a mixed breed, adult dog.
In the end, if you want to improve your own physical health, you’ll find that those ‘dog walks’ can translate into healthier joints and flexibility for You and adopting the right pet is a good bet for any senior’s quality-of-life.
In support of the Cedar City, Enoch City and Iron County Animal Shelters. If you would like to provide a forever home to a special dog or cat call for an adoption visit at 435-586-8791 or 435-586-2960.