Updated: May 10, 2022
Pets are a part of our family. When someone talks about their pet, we listen. When someone loses a pet, we listen. Our pets are beloved to us and especially for older adults, they can have a very positive and uplifting effect on our health. They can help us get the exercise and sleep we need, instill the conscientiousness of eating right and the importance of fresh air and daily play. Their springy walk or cheery face we love is waiting for us faithfully at the end of every day.
Pets offer their companionship, comfort and even increase our longevity. They are a part in our socializing and we become a part of theirs. We always include them in our lives. Our pets can lower our blood pressure, raise our outlook and quite literally keep us on our toes, remembering our manners, patience and the importance of our mentorship. The payback is that they love us no matter what.
If you are in need, there is a registered charity group that helps seniors who could use a hand from time to time being sure our pets get their care, their walks, food & healthcare. You can find support at www.elderdog.ca for volunteers willing to help in your community.
Our pets are in our care from the first day we decide to bring them home untill the day they leave us. Acknowledging someone who has lost a pet means we want to use sincerity and patience. Ask the pet's name and allow them to expressed their grief. A safe initial reaction might be to say something simple like "my condolences" or "I am sorry for your loss." If they want to talk, just let them, while again we listen.
Chances are you may have had a family pet or even a few throughout your life. Every time we say goodbye it's never easy. The greatest honour we can bestow them is to give them their time; which gives us our time too. They leave us when they know they've done their best work and we'll be okay. At least that's what we tell ourselves.
The hardest part may feel like the goodbye, but we'll remember best all the precious days before. They helped us entertain family, friends and their pets too, ensuring you knew dinner time at 4:30 sharp! They trusted you, knew you by smell and hopefully, we always smelled good to them too. As time went on they came to appreciate a hand up to those places they liked that were getting just a little harder to get to.
They loved just being near you, even if you were that goofy guest who didn't have a dog of their own but indulged them in a game of 'no dog, don't take my leg.' We remember the love they gave. A gift, living on in our hearts. After all, it's never really goodbye. It's I'll be seeing you in all the old familiar places, my friend.