I became a parent my second year of college when I adopted my first cat. Growing up with dogs, everything about cats was new. Without instant Internet access to research, learn, and hear others opinions, I relied on the experts for guidance. So when the vet told me I “needed” to get Jake declawed, sadly, I took his advice as gospel. When I picked my poor kitty up after surgery, I was horrified. Blood everywhere, a depressed cat—I knew in my heart that I had just done a terrible thing.
But, just as my sisters and I drove around in the family station wagon without car seats because no one knew better, so it was with animal care. Thankfully, things have changed.
Similar to the way I’m focused on BPA-free, humane dairy and meat, and scrutinize ingredients on nearly everything my human children ingest or put on their bodies, we have quickly moved in that direction for our companion animals. From organic food and treats to chemical-free toys and grooming products, we are more aware of what we give our animals than ever before.
When Jake entered his senior years, we took him for acupuncture. When our dog Luna’s arthritis acts up, we bring her in for hydrotherapy. Twenty years ago people would have thought we were crazy. Today, pets have made their way into the family unit, thus get treated as any other family member would.
Keeping our pets happier and healthier than ever means they are living longer. And while that is definitely something to celebrate, for older animals waiting in shelters it can be extremely depressing. November is “Adopt-a-Senior-Pet” month—dedicated to the grace, humility, and love older animals radiate. One of the biggest gifts we can offer these special animals is a comfortable place to live out their lives, full of the love and attention they deserve.
Please think about opening your heart to an older animal. Like anything in life, you will get back much more than what you give.
Wishing you all good things for a happy and healthy Thanksgiving—