Watch Tip: Finding My Old Companion

Posted on February 5th, 2012 by admin

We have a guest blogger this week, Jeannette P. Ward, PhD. Jeannette is a retired physiological psychologist and animal behavior consultant. She lives with two older Weimaraners.


Well, it’s all good now.  My companion and I are all snuggled up together on the big couch.  It has to be a big couch because he is a really big boy.  This happy story is about how I found my companion.  You may find some of these points helpful.

A few months ago I retired from my job of many years.  For awhile I was busy with farewell parties and lunches out with friends and relatives.  But soon the retirement activities slowed and my little house got very quiet.  Oh, there were still outings from time to time, but in between times, most of the time when I’m home alone, it is very quiet, even sometimes lonely.  So it came to me that I needed a full-time companion, a 24-hour buddy.

After some consideration, it came to me that a pet would be ideal.  I have always enjoyed animals but for most of my life have not had the time or place to host one.  Now it seemed to be just the right thing.  I began to look into the possibilities and a dog, a nice cuddly dog, came to mind.  I began to search about for where to find the right one.  Like so many prospective dog owners, my first idea was a cuddly little puppy.  I could be it’s first mommy and it would have special love for me because I was the only one.

I soon found my way to a shelter for puppies and dogs needing a home.  The caretaker was very kind and helpful.  I explained to her my desire for a puppy companion.  She smiled and said “They’re all cute when they’re little, but also a lot of work.”  Next we went to the area where the dogs were kept.  So many!  All sizes, all ages, pure and mixed breeds!  For a moment I wanted to take them all home with me to my empty house.  How could I decide? 

At that moment I felt my gaze drawn to the back of the room where a large, handsome male stood staring at me.  I motioned for him to come over to me.  He came immediately and rested his head on my knee.  You know my heart melted.  He was a beautiful dog, but obviously older with grey around the muzzle.  “How does an older dog like this come to be in a shelter?” I asked.  The caretaker sighed and said that older dogs are brought there for many reasons.  This dog and many others are brought here because their owners “age-out” on them.  How sad that an older person will adopt a puppy or young dog not thinking that the owner may die before the dog.  So when their original companion leaves suddenly, often there is no one else to care for the dog and they end up here where, because of their age they may be more difficult to adopt out.  This is a shame because they are often the most loving and best trained.  And certainly they seem to appreciate a second chance at a loving home more than most.

As I signed the papers to take him home to my no-longer-to-be-empty house, I said to him “Well, you’re an old boy and I’m an old girl, so I think we’ll get along together famously” … and so we have.

Thoughts from an Old Dog – reasons to take us home:

1.  Older (preowned) dogs can actually love and appreciate a new companion more.  We can compare your loving care with a previous home.

2.  Older dogs likely have good manners.  Most of us know not to counter-surf, and to do our business out of doors.  We are also likely to know a lot of cute tricks like SIT, STAY, DOWN, FETCH, and so on.  This saves a new owner lots of training time.

3.  Older dogs, unlike the youngsters, do not so much feel the need to swagger about demonstrating their “macho.”

4. Older dogs, like older folks, are unlikely to want to charge about making a disturbance.  Cat, squirrel, and bird chasing are much reduced.

5. Finally, older dogs love to eat, to chew on things, but mostly food.  We’re not too much interested in pillows or chair legs.

So you can see why we’re more fun and less trouble!!!

One Response to “Watch Tip: Finding My Old Companion”

  1. Jill Sicheneder says:

    I love this story!!

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