Open your hearts to senior pets

It really is true. Having a pet is healthy. Having a pet will help reduce your stress you, lower your blood pressure, lower your cholesterol and triglycerides, increase longevity after heart attacks, encourages exercise, and improves psychological health. They can boost our immunity.

The very qualities that make us love our pets make them good for us. Pets give people a sense of purpose, provide nonjudgmental acceptance.

Our pets listen to us with compassion at the end of a trying day. A pet gives us renewed purpose, distracts us from our daily problems and believe it or not encourages communication with others. They can even get us dates.

It is emotionally healthy for any age to have a pet. Those living alone feel less anxiety and alleviate feelings of isolation.

Pets for seniors are a huge health resource. Every day dogs bring love, laughter and companionship to elderly people. Older dogs especially are invaluable to our seniors.

They are more likely to be calm, already housetrained and more easily managed than stronger more excitable younger animals. Seniors keep active by feeding, grooming and caring for their pets.

Dogs help get a senior get out of their house into the fresh air. Companion animals help the elderly lead happy, healthy lives and give them independence and hope.

So I am going to talk about the senior dogs in shelters. Just like us when we lose the person closest to us it is devastating. And it is the same for a senior dog.

It is hard to make an adjustment to living without a lifetime companion. Both the human and the dog need someone in their lives, and often the best decision is put these two together.

Can you guess how many senior dogs are in the shelter?

These are dogs that have shared their lives with someone, loved them dearly and then end up in "jail."

This happens for many reasons; companion died and the relatives couldn't take the dog or the companion went into a rest home or people just wanted to get rid of the old dog.

Yes it is sad, and guess what, no one wants these sweet gray muzzled loves.

Why? They are already housebroken, calm and just would like to spend the rest of their lives loving and being loved. As I toured the Nevada Humane Society, my heart just broke as I looked into the sad wise eyes of these gentle beings. They gave their all and now they are abandoned.

They would fit into a home where someone doesn't want to start all over with a puppy or where someone just wants a walking partner to smell the flowers and sit together reading the paper or having coffee and the hand moving over their sweet heads.

They are just like us, needing to be loved and cared for. They are a valuable resource just like our senior citizens are.

Two such sweet dogs in the NHS in Reno. Hannah, a gray muzzled chocolate lab, and Mona Lisa, a 12-year-old who like to be a couch potato. Open your hearts to these animals and help yourself, too.


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