Wednesday, August 24, 2011

No Friend like an Old Friend

Caring for Falcon is a joy that
reminds me I'm the same girl
I always was.
Ask any animal rescuer and they'll tell you the same thing: There's nothing sadder than an abandoned senior pet. The white-muzzled dog trembling in the back of his kennel wishing for his family to come back, the lonely old cat in her cold cage, or--maybe worst of all--the lame, skinny horse who was once a little girl's dream and is now on his way to the meat auction. It all really does happen. Every day.

Let's face it. Everyone loves a puppy or a kitten. (Well, people with souls, anyway.) But it can take real love to be there for your pet forever. That's forever, as in no matter what.  All any domestic animal has to its name is you, and when you give it up you leave it with no protection, no love, and no voice to tell who it is and has been over the years. The reality is that older pets tend not to get adopted, and many pounds euthanize them first because they assume they are unadoptable. So, here's the right thing to do:

    The little old man looking pretty
    athletic for his age.
  •  Never, ever dump your pet at a pound or shelter, period. Especially not if she's older.
  • If your senior pet is so ill that you cannot afford to care for him, ask for help. Contact friends and family. Swallow your pride and make a plea online. If none of this works, consider whether it is kinder in the end to euthanize your pet than to let him live his last days terrified at a pound.
  • ADOPT OR FOSTER AN OLDER PET! Why have you never thought of this? Oldies are wonderful--past the chewy stage, calmer, and often very grateful just for a peaceful place to lie in the sun. If you've never known an old horse, you have never known real wisdom.
So, to that end, I am sharing a couple photos of my favorite senior. 25-year-old Arduns Falcon was indeed a little girl's wildest dream and winner of dozens of blue ribbons. He is now a wise, gentle friend. He is out to pasture--in the very best sense--on the organic pastures of Harvet Hills Farm in Hanover, IL. His "little girl" visits him monthly.  (PS: Harvest hills does not board horses. Sorry.)

Falcon takes my mom for safe ride (right.)

1 comment:

  1. My raggedy senior cat is still a beautiful glossy kitten in my eyes. And she only has eyes for me, too. Senior pets love us for our whole selves.