Category Archives: Good Love

Pets For Seniors: Choosing a Companion

By guest blogger Jessica Brody

Are you a senior interested in getting a pet? There are lots of benefits to doing so, from companionship in times of need to mental and physical health benefits. These four points will help you prepare your home, and your lifestyle, for a new addition by making the right choices about type, size, breed, and age.

Pet Type

To start, you need to think carefully about the type of animal you want to bring into your home. Choosing the right pet will guarantee a comfortable and pleasant experience for both parties.

First and foremost, think about the environment you will be able to provide for your pet. Do you live in a house or an apartment? An apartment may call for a smaller animal, such as a bird, a cat, or a hamster. A house may provide enough room for a dog.

Next, ask yourself how much energy you can devote to your pet on a day-to-day basis. If you need a significant amount of time for self-care, or require ongoing assistance, a low maintenance pet may be the best option. If you find that you are generally comfortable caring for your own health and home, a cat or dog are possible pets.

Finally, think long and hard about how long you will able to be the primary caregiver for a pet. Does the idea of ten or fifteen years seem daunting? A young cat or dog may not be the best solution. However, if your health is strong and you have experience handling pets, an animal with a long lifespan may be worth it.

Having trouble making a decision? This article from Best Friends can help you choose the right pet for your home.

Pet Size

The next step is thinking about the size of your pet. This is especially important for dogs, which come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Do you want a small, medium, or large animal?

A small animal could be a bird, a guinea pig, a turtle, a fish, or a rabbit. These animals all live in cages and are generally easy to monitor. A medium animal could be a small dog or a cat, both of which require far more responsibility. A large animal is usually a dog, such as a Labrador Retriever or a Husky.

Consider these options and ask yourself which size works best for your home and your lifestyle.

Pet Breed

Rarely does breed make a significant difference when it comes to small animals like rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, turtles, or fish. However, if you plan on getting a bird, a cat, or a dog, the specific breed you choose can change your experience completely.

The best thing you can do is thoroughly research your options. There are dozens of breeds to choose from, so this could take several weeks to decide.

Pet Age

Once you’ve decided on a pet type, size, and breed, you need to think about age. This depends mostly on how long you believe you’ll be able to care for your pet - in addition to the amount of time you have to put into training.

As a senior, this is likely not the best time to invest in a puppy or a kitten. Instead, you might want to consider visiting a shelter and saving the life of a growing dog or cat. Rescue animals can range from one to ten years in age and often make the best companions.

For smaller animals such as rodents or fish, you should feel comfortable starting young. You can, however, rescue guinea pigs from shelters across the country.

Think carefully about these four factors before choosing your new companion, and you’ll build the foundation for a healthy owner-pet relationship that will last for years to come.

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Ensure Your Pets Are Cared For

Steps to Ensure that Your Pets are Well Taken Care of When You Can No Longer Provide Care

By guest blogger Jessica Brody

The average life expectancy of a Labrador Retriever is 12 years. Overall, pets have a shorter life span when compared to that of humans. Even though you know this fact, it is still difficult to cope with their death. Have you ever wondered how your pets would feel when you are no longer here? What will happen to them in case they outlive you?

Senior pet owners consider pets a part of their family. Which is why it becomes your responsibility to make plans to secure the future of your pets. Some of the steps that you should take to ensure that your pets are well taken care:

Choose caregivers from among your friends and family

Have a talk with your friends and family, and choose at least two caregivers (people who are willing
to take on the responsibility). In case something happens to you or there is an emergency, these people will act as emergency caregivers. Ensure that you give them all the details such your veterinarian’s name and any special instructions about feeding and caring for the pet. Remember to give them spare keys to your home, and let them know about whatever permanent provisions you have made.

  • Keep your neighbors informed

You may be close to your family and friends. However, if you live alone, they are not the ones that are always around you. Your neighbors can be a great help in situations where you are incapacitated. Therefore, see to it that your neighbors are well informed about your pets. Tell them how many pets you have and what their names are. Provide them with contact numbers of your temporary caregivers as well as your emergency contact details.

  • Find out more about organizations that take care of pets

Most of the organizations cannot take care of your pets after you are unable to because they severely lack funds. They may be able to look after them for a while, until they are handed over to your permanent caregiver. However, there are some sanctuaries and pet retirement homes that dedicate themselves to take care of pets whose owners are no longer around. All you need to do is pay them a small donation, and they will take care of your pets. However, this must be used as a last resort as pets may very well be distressed because of the confinement.

  • Include pets in your will

Your lawyer can help you draw the kind of documents needed to include pets in your will. While this will ensure you have taken care of all the legal details related to your pets, you should be aware of its downsides. For one, your will may come under dispute, and it may take weeks or even months to resolve it. For another, it may actually take some time for your pet care instructions to be carried out.

  • Set up a pet trust

According to the American Animal Hospital Association, 47 percent of pet owners are willing to spend any amount of money to save their pets. So a trust fund doesn’t seem that far-fetched, does it? A pet trust is a legal document that can provide for your pets when you become ill or incapacitated. In fact, you can choose when the trust should come into effect. The best thing about these trusts is that during the probate process, certain assets can be excluded.

It is always good to be prepared for worst case scenarios. Making future plans for your pets makes certain that they don’t suffer much after you can no longer take care of them.

We have created a short booklet that walks you through setting up a plan for your pets should you become unexpectedly ill and can't get to them. We'll send one to the first 50 people who email haley@bogobowl.com. 

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Saying goodbye to Chance

"There once was a boy named Chance, who'd wiggle and do a little dance. He really needed pants. Chance."

first-pic 2nd-picI was not looking for a new pup. I had lost Bear just a year earlier. Bear's sister Lady and I were doing just fine with our cats Magoo and Bibi. But I kept seeing a pathetically adorable pup in my Facebook newsfeed. He was special needs - he'd been hit by a train, and was paralyzed in the back - but he had great personality and spirit. At first, I tried sharing his story to find him a great home. It didn't take long before I started to wonder if my home was the great home.

A local woman had recently adopted another paralyzed larger dog, named Duke, and I connected with her to find out the realities of caring for a special needs dog. Susan, Duke's mom, was amazing - and an enabler! She gave me all sorts of information and offered to help acclimate us if I made the decision to adopt Chance.

The next hurdle was my house. It was an early 1900s place, not designed for a dog with a wheelchair. I mentioned that to one friend and before I knew it my kitchen was literally taken apart and put back together again in one weekend with dog-friendly flooring, and the kitchen island moved to prevent cart snags. My wonderful friends also put in a ramp to the yard.

chance-and-sarahIn June 2011, Jim and Sara from Pilots N Paws flew this pathetic-looking little guy from Topeka to Des Moines. The minute we met it was instant, crazy, mutual love between Chance and I, and the Chance song was born.

Over the next five years, Chance found joy in pestering his older canine sister, cuddled with his cats, adored and was adored by his humans, and inspired a company whose mission is to help at-risk animals like him find or keep their forever homes.

There were challenges, to be sure. Whereas Susan's dog, Duke, has to be expressed to keep his bladder empty, Chance did not. At first that seemed like a blessing. But realistically, having a 60lb dog who piddles wherever he goes is a challenge. We tried diapers but because of the way he moved - sometimes with his legs out behind him, sometimes bouncing on his butt like a pogo stick - they wouldn't stay on.

It turned out he was also heartworm positive, which I did not know when I agreed to adopt him. (Please please tell everyone you know how easy it is to prevent heartworm and how awful it is to treat!)

bogochanceWe found our way and I expected a long, happy life with him by my side. Truly, the boy was a sweet, goofy, clown. If I was having a tough day, he knew it and decided if destroying a stuffie made him feel better, it would help me too. He reminded me to find joy in the small things, like a banana or a roll in the grass. When I was having a sorry for myself moment (it happens!) watching him enjoy the world despite what we might see as challenges reminded me to suck it up and get on with it.

Unfortunately our long life together wasn't to be. Earlier this week we discovered Chance had a tumor in his brain that was causing seizures, pain and stress. Heart breaking, I let him go.

Now, more than ever, we're committed to helping dogs like Chance get their chance at a good life, whether that's by keeping them with families who love them through programs like the Pet Project Midwest, or helping them get lifesaving medical care from groups life Fairytail Endings, or giving them time to find the just right forever home, thanks to organizations like Lucky Dog Animal Rescue.

Although there is a huge hole in our hearts, Chance is still here, encouraging us, cheering us on, and reminding us why we do what we do.

Thank you for joining us on this journey.

Sara
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