Friday, May 22, 2009

Another Controversial Dog Blog

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," where we love all domesticated animals, from hamsters to horses! If it purrs, barks, or squeaks, we're all for it.

However, we think owning pets should be governed by a certain logic.

The other morning I caught a snippet of some news show (don't you love the way I link?) in which a 70-year-old woman was denied the adoption of a puppy by a pet shelter. The shelter suggested that the woman adopt an older dog, because, well ... do the math.

The woman claimed that she had a 40-year-old son living at home who could take care of the dog if and when she couldn't. Why she didn't send that man to adopt the dog is a puzzlement. She didn't say what he might have done or not done that would be considered unworthy of pet adoption by an animal shelter.

This is personal for me. When my parents were in their sixties, they adopted a strong young hound -- the long-legged kind you see baying after foxes in the English countryside. The animal shelter people loved the dog and wanted to see him adopted at any cost. They didn't look at Mom's lazy fatness and Dad's incipient but noticeable Parkinson's disease. They just found a home for a favorite doggie.

Then Dad had to walk doggie. On countless occasions, the powerful animal pulled Dad off his feet. Once it happened in a remote area near an abandoned barn.

Heck, that dog was even too big for my parents' little house. His hound-baying could be heard a block away, and he seemed to fill any room he entered. Nor did age wither his abilities to bark or lunge on his leash unpredictably. It's lucky that the only person he ever bit was me, because any stranger would have pressed charges.

I don't blame the hound. I blame the shelter. I stand on the side of reason here. A 70-year-old should not adopt a puppy. It's not fair to the puppy. Pups belong in houses with young parents and little kids, so that the kids grow up with a trusted friend at their side. Or with young singles who want to jog every day.

The same goes for kittens. I've raised more than 50 foster kittens, but I've never kept a single one. My two live-in cats are of mature years. When they go (and I hope it's not for awhile), I'll adopt a mature cat, if I adopt any at all. I'm still in mid-life, but I don't want to be saddled with a young cat when I have to move out of my house.

So, facing the wrath of some, we at "The Gods Are Bored" go on record as being against the adoption of puppies by people of retirement age. There are so many grown dogs languishing in pens ... dogs that would live a decade with less exercise and less space, and be happy the whole time. And considering that Woodstock Training Company just lost a cat that was 19 and had lived in the store her whole life, I strongly suggest retirees pass on kittens as well.

Remember, it's not just about you. It's about the pet as well.

This free advice comes from the owner of a despicably loud macaw that will outlive its owner. Ask me what I would do if I could make that decision a second time! Talk about a ball-and-chain.


Lori F said...

I agree! Not only age should be an issue, but size. I have a Lab. I love her dearly, but she's big. and heavy. I want my next dog to be smaller. Something I can pick up. I'm not talking a Yorkie, just something I can lift if necessary - such as an injury.
Shame on Shelters for just unloading animals.

Aquila ka Hecate said...

I agree also. It's surely not just about the human.
Terri in Joburg

Lavanah said...

I agree, too. My grandmother died this past february, and while all of us miss her, I felt most for her dog. When we gathered at her house after the funeral, the dog would perk up every time someone came through the door, only to realize that it wasn't his person. His dejection was profound, and even more heartbreaking because to him, my grandmother just vanished one day, never to return.

Everyone should try to remember: its never just about you.

Avarra said...

I agree full heartedly, age is important as the size, but also the temperament of a dog or other want to have pet. And the amount of time you are willing to spend with your new family member (feeding, cleaning- or walking, tending the fur, playing etc. pp.).

To take a pet should alway be considered with HEART and MIND, sometimes even more with the MIND!

Bright Blessings,
Avarra (by the way, I have a Labrador- something- mixture and although she can be very exhausting and sometimes stubborn (maybe I shouldn't have named her Isis *g*), she is the BEST dog for my 2 kids I could imagine!)

mrsb said...

I agree. And if an older person really wants to be around the puppies, maybe they should volunteer to help out with the pets at the shelter.

yellowdog granny said...

i 65 and i dont buy green bananas

Terraluna said...

I last visited my strong, wise, and intelligent grandmother when she was in her early 90's. All her life, she always had a dog and a cat, and she had just adopted a new kitten, but had not replaced the dog that had died a couple of years earlier.

She told me that she wouldn't get another dog, and I assumed that it was because she couldn't handle one anymore (she almost always had a Lab or a Chessie)--she had been knocked down by her dog in her late 80's and broke her hip.

Then she said that she knew the cat would be OK (she had one of those stay-at-home sons, too), but, she said, "a dog gets attached".

Did I mention that she was wise?

Anonymous said...

I'm sitting atop a scant twenty years, but refuse to adopt young animals. It's easy for kittens and puppies to find homes because they are so amazingly adorable. That means that the kitten I've fallen in love with will probably find another home. The older dog or cat, however, is far less likely. Besides, if you get a mature animal, you're much more likely to get a sense of their personality and thus will probably pick a better match.

All in all, kittens and puppies may win the cute prize, but older cats and dogs are where it's at.


Hecate said...


Hi from BS, WV. Saw two lovely vultures yesterday soaring about a meadow. Thought of you immediately.

Sarita said...

Anne, your reasoning makes sense, but I think it depends on the individual case.

A few years ago my senior citizen aged dad got a Siamese kitten. He's disabled, and she is a service animal/companion animal for him. (Of course, she doesn't leave the house with him...can you imagine if he tried that?? Those cats are so temperamental.) She is closely bonded to him, and I don't think they would have the connection they do if he hadn't gotten her as a kitten. My parents chose her breed specifically because they know from experience that Siamese cats do bond very closely with one person, and knew that it would be good for my dad.

On the other hand, if she does outlive him...yes, that will be VERY hard on her. Fortunately people on his side of the family tend to be long lived, so hopefully he has many more years ahead of him.

KJBrooklyn said...

I'm not sure I agree. 70 isn't so old these days, dpends on the person. My 88 year old mother in-law takes the subway, go to the theater,volunteers at a nursing home and generally runs around more than I do. she certainly could have adopted a puppy at age 70 if she had chosen to do so. Not a lab maybe, but a smaller dog would have been fine.

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