Anyone who owns a pet who is in their golden years knows that with each passing year, they lose a little of that spring in their step. Despite any health issues that may arise, they are your companion and you love them more than anything.
No amount of love can take away that our older pets are in their twilight years, and at some point in the not-so-distant future, we will all have to say goodbye to our best friends. It is something that all pet owners think about more and more with each passing month. As difficult as it may be, it is important to enjoy our time with our senior pets and to reflect on some of the invaluable lessons they teach us along the way.
Grudges are a human idea.
You never know what kind of life your pet led before they were a rescued by you. Often times, a shelter will tell you stories of previous owners who hurt or even completely neglected the needs of your now pet. Many of our rescued friends come to us with fleas, malnourishment, and countless other health issues that were left unattended by previous owners.
It is amazing that, often times, our pets are not affected by this in their life. Grudges are indeed a human idea. Many of our beloved lifelong pets keep a positive outlook on life and a sunny disposition towards humans despite their previous experiences. Many of our pets love unconditionally, and there is nothing in their past that can change that.
Never pass up the opportunity for a good meal.
Most healthy pets are good eaters, but we’ve all encountered that furry friend that would be a horse if their owner didn’t monitor their food intake. While our senior pets certainly calm down in their recent years, they certainly had no aversions to eating just about anything in their youthful days. There are shoes, a television, several remotes, a laptop, mattresses, the couch, and more toys than we can count that were all considered “meals” for our companions at some point in their life.
So the lesson stands to be learned; never pass up the opportunity for a good meal. After all, you can’t work hard and play hard on an empty stomach.
The simple things in life are what are important.
At some point during their lives, we may have bought our pets expensive toys, the best food, and treated them to routine visits to an expensive groomer. Are these the things that have made out pets the most happy throughout their lives? I’d care to wager that this is simply not the case. Many of us have experienced our pets in their most joyful moments with steak bones out of the trash, dirty socks, and even the occasional spritz with the hose in the back yard. Our senior pets seem to know something that some of us humans have not fully grasped in our adulthood. Expensive doesn’t necessarily mean “good” or “fun.” Our pets teach us that keeping up with the Joneses is a foolish exercise, and that the most fun anyone will ever have in life will depended entirely on the people we chose to surround ourselves with.
Determine who’s important to you, and love them with all of your heart.
Our senior pets know who they like, and who they don’t like, and more often than not they are not shy about letting you know this. Our wonderful pets chose who to give their love to, and then proceed to give it unconditionally and unwaveringly. Through good days and bad days, our pets are always there for us with their same silly smirk or their wagging tale and they will never leave your side. It makes you truly think about the people you love in your life and reminds you that you should never let them go.
Being outdoors is good for the mind, body and spirit.
As our pets begin to get older, they will have less of a desire to get up and move around, to go outside, or to play that old game of fetch, especially if the weather is not great. That said, during those perfect days, even an aging pet will regress into the young and jubilant self they once were many years ago. It’s strange to see an arthritic pet that moves slowly and doesn’t get out of his bed most of the time go into full blown youngster mode by chasing a tennis ball or running in circles around the yard when the weather is just right. It seems that the outdoors has that effect on all of us. If our older pets can find the strength to take in some sun, we should find the time as well.
Live in the moment.
Our senior pets aren’t afraid of their mortality. Our pets show us how to live in the moment, and each of those moments are lived like they’re their last. Whether it’s a lazy afternoon slumber, or watching squirrels through the window, our pets know that life is only as good as how you feel in that specific moment.
We know that our senior pets only have a limited time here with us, so we know that we’re not so far from the time that we will have to say goodbye. While our pets may not be by our side forever, the lessons they teach us certainly will. We will undoubtedly miss our pets when they are gone, but we should be thankful not only for the lessons they have taught, but for the love that they have given us throughout the years. Treat your senior pet with respect, and don’t forget that although they might not be with you much longer, the place they carved out in your heart is certain to remain, forever.