Have you ever looked at an old grey face in an adoption post and thought “Oh, I'd love to take you home. But my heart can't take it.”? Yeah, that was me too.
Inviting an animal into your home and heart is always inviting along the inevitable heartache of their eventual passing. Of course with a senior animal that heartache likely will come all too soon, they may only have a few months or few years left. However, after loving and saying goodbye to two senior dogs, I can say with 100% certainty that the love you receive significantly outweighs the heartache. Yes it is crushing, and you will feel that hurt just as deep as if you have loved them every single minute of their life, but senior animals bring to you a whole new level of love.
A week ago my world came crashing down when my senior girl, Missy and I made her final trip to the Gander Vet Clinic. In two more months we would have been celebrating her 4th Gotcha Day and even though my heart was nowhere near prepared, she was ready for the next stage – whatever that may be. In the days leading up to her passing, I thought “I'm never doing this again, my heart can't take this anymore.” BUT I will do this again, over and over and over, until my own body gives out. Why? Why would I knowingly put myself through this? It's simple really. I do it for all the laughs she gave me, all the calories she saved me by helping herself to my food, all the things she knocked off the coffee table when you weren't giving her the attention she wanted. Her barking demands for food, how she suddenly lost her hearing when you tried to call her back inside, and how she liked to dictate where everybody sat, slept and when we woke up – yes she was indeed a character.
She brought to my family 10 or so years of her own experiences; they made her the wonderful, loving, annoying, funny, gal that she was. I often wished I had known her as a puppy, I bet she was a force to be reckoned with – with fiery red/brown fur and a devilish grin – that stubbornness I know she had to be born with. But I see it as she came to me when we needed each other the most and I would never trade the 4 years I have known her for anything.
My advice to you? Even if just once, give your heart and home to a senior animal, their love is second to none. I promise you will feel more love and appreciation from that animal than you ever could of imagined.