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.