Aging with Pets

Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone?

~ Joni Mitchell

 

Aging in Place with Pets

I’m disturbed by a trend…Saw it again this morning. When out walking my dog, it has become more common to see individuals walking their dogs (sort of) with their noses buried in a cellphone. So mesmerized by the small screen I’ve witnessed poor critters yanked by the collar through intersections, jolted from tantalizing smells, pulled from poops, pushed from pees, while the owner obsessively fixates on the next text. These pet owners are completely disengaged with the one creature who gives them unconditional love and has been waiting all day just to see them.  

I’m always left feeling sad, call it projection, but the look on these furry friends is the expression of an orphan. The “present absence” of these obsessive texters is reminiscent of the alcoholic or meth-head; there in the body, but not in mind or spirit. This erodes relationships, both animal, and human, over time like social suicide on the installment plan.

Life is short, time with our pets is even shorter. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association breaks it down like this:

  • 15 human years equals the first year of a medium-sized dog’s life.
  • Year two for a dog equals about nine years for a human.
  • And after that, each human year would be approximately five years for a dog.
  • Source: How to Calculate Dog Years to Human Years 

Your time with them is fleeting. If you own a pet it’s your obligation to not just attend to their physical needs, but their psychological ones as well (love, affection, attention). Too soon they will be gone and you’ll be left only with their images on your back-lit screen. Maybe that’s enough for you?

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This is full loving attention…

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