Saturday, May 06, 2006
This will also be a “letter to the Editor” to be sent to all our my local area newspapers over the coming days….
I have two older dogs, Sam, a 15 y/o female Black Lab, and Lady, an 11 y/o female Black and Tan Coonhound. I have had the joy of the companionship and love of these two sweet girls since they were puppies.
I moved to a new home in August of 2005 in a mobile home park, which had restrictions about the size of dogs that could live there. Unfortunately, my girls are a little bit bigger than the 20 lb limit, so I couldn’t bring them with me. Fortunately and thankfully, two of my dear friends, who I have been living with up to then, gave their consent to my leaving Sam and Lady with them for the time being. I provided their food, and went to visit as often as my schedule would allow. The girls were comfortable there, in a large house, with plenty of outdoor room to play in on their lead lines, and with the company of many feline friends.
My friends, who are a retired couple, were wonderful in their love and care of Sam and Lady, and I am so very grateful for their compassion and support in keeping my girls with them for as long as they did. As time passed, it began to wear on them a little. Being retired, they want to be able to travel, and the dogs were going to pose a problem in this regard. Another issue that became apparent was that Lady (nicknamed “Booger” as a puppy due her personality) wasn’t very happy that I was no longer living there. She started acting out by peeing on the floor even after having been outside on her line for a couple of hours (in nice weather). Sam was developing bladder capacity issues (old bladder equals shorter times between having to go), and while during the day it wasn’t too much of problem as long as someone was home, this carried over to during the night, resulting in shortened and disrupted sleep times for my friends.
A couple of weeks ago, my friends told me in a very positive way that it was time for me to make other living arrangements for Lady and Sam. I knew that this was bound to happen at some point in time, and had done some inquiring at kennel facilities in my area, but wasn’t coming up with anything. So, I needed to talk with the Manager of our mobile home park, explain the situation, that I needed to bring my dogs here while I looked for another home for them. He was reluctant, but gave me permission to do so, but only for a week or two. They needed to be out by May 5th. Well, that was yesterday, and my girls are still here, and I don’t know what I’m going to do, because I can’t keep them here any longer without putting our lot lease in jeopardy.
Since they've been here, there have been no peeing incidents with Lady. So the possibility that she was "pissed off" that I wasn't there with her is a definite possibility!
I have called literally every veterinarian, animal shelter, kennel, and humane society in my area, asking for help, to no avail.
I have been told by several of these locations that my dogs are too old to even be considered for adopting out. Nobody would want to take on the responsibility of the care of dogs of their ages, because there are liable to be health problems in the next couple of years.
I was told that their advice, and my “best bet”, was to just have them euthanized, put to sleep.
I am totally stunned by this attitude, and totally heartbroken that there is apparently no other alternative.
Why is it that dealing with older animals who are healthy and lively is such a problem?
Why should they have to be put to sleep just because there is no place to care for them in their old age?
Why isn’t there such a thing as a retirement home for older domestic animals? A place where dogs and cats and other family pets could go to live when circumstances such as mine, or even the death of their human companions, leaves them with no place to live? A place that is not a cage in a kennel, but a home, complete with couches and pillows and beds. A place with safe access to the outdoors, and a caring staff of people who will be there all the time to love and care and play with them?
I don’t know what the result will be with my girls in the next few days. I am so very sad that I may very well have to put them to sleep. Because it’s not fair. They don’t deserve it.
I know one thing for sure. I am going to start working to try to establish such a place as I’ve described above. A Retirement Home for Older Domestic Companion Animals. With all the comforts of home. I’ll find a way to make this a reality, whether it’s from grant funding, winning the lottery, or finding a philanthropist somewhere who is willing to help me build this place.
If you want to help, let me know…..