Saturday, July 02, 2005
Senior Gentleman Seeks Long Lasting RelationshipYesterday, a dog was returned to our shelter. He had been adopted in 1998 and since he was one and a half then, he's now over nine years old. The reason for this return? Moving. Can't keep.
There is more to the story than that. There must be. You can't just own a pet for eight years and then one morning decide not to own it anymore. Can you? I am left scratching my head at this thought. Are we animal welfare folk so different from the rest of the pet owning population that this concept, so bizarre to me, would be perfectly logical to most dog owners?
Maybe this dog had some behavior issue, and moving was an opportunity for the owners to justify giving him up. Maybe there's more to the story than just "moving".
What the shelter is left with is a nine year old dog who I last saw panting heavily and looking out through the bars of his kennel. It's these moments that make me wish I could creep inside a dog's head and understand what they're thinking. What runs through a dog's mind when he finds himself in a kennel after living in a home for eight years?
Our return is not the only one. There are senior dogs in nearly every shelter, and we have a senior animal program specifically so we can bring a few in and get them adopted out. But finding homes for older dogs is a challenge. Most adopters want a young, spry pet and few are interested in a dog or cat who has most of its life behind him.
It seems an injustice to me, to spend your entire life with someone only to be given away in the sunset years. There is something about the senior dogs that strikes me even more than the others. Many of these dogs are sweet, mellow, attention seeking companions. What did they do to be turned away?
They say when you love something, forever is not enough. Apparently, eight years is too long.