November 13, 2018 — Having an elderly pet can be a challenge; in some ways it is similar to caring for an older family member. But looking on the bright side, there are any number of lessons that Felix or Fido can offer to improve the enjoyment of your retirement. We’ll explore some of these here.
– Stretching is a good thing. Cats, and to some extent dogs too, naturally stop and stretch to get the kinks out – and so should we. Daily stretching is one of the best things you can do to avoid injuries as well as preventing that “old man” look you see from people who can’t sit, stand, or walk without creaking. It really works, so consider going to a class or hiring a trainer to learn how to do it properly.
– Check out what’s going on around you. Dogs seem to make up for their declining sight and hearing by emphasizing their unbelievable sense of smell. They need to check out everything. Cats do the same thing. Old people get lost in their own little worlds, and that robs them with connections to what is going on around them. Stay alert to your environment – people, animals, and sights – and you will stay young!
– Drink lots of water. Pets that become diabetic do it even more, but even healthy ones realize they need plenty of fresh water to keep their systems healthy. You don’t want kidney stones or bladder infections that can come from neglecting regular hydration.
– Give affection and you will get it back. Just like pets, we all thrive on affection and a healthy touch. Show the people around you that you care about them, and chances are you will get rewarded with love and affection back.
– There’s nothing wrong with a timely nap. If you are tired, take a quick nap. We know it works for us, it’s a quick way to get back on track.
– Leave dangerous jobs to someone else. So what if you can’t jump up on the counter anymore. The human counterpart is staying off roofs and ladders, which is a pretty good way to get hurt. Ask someone for help instead of you climbing ladders or lifting heavy boxes.
– Know your limitations. Older pets seem to realize they can’t do the things they used to do. So don’t embark on a vigorous exercise program or a strenuous physical task all gung-ho. Start smart, and don’t try to keep up with someone younger or fitter just because you can’t admit you aren’t in the shape you used to be. Do exercise, but be smart about it.
– Savor the small moments. This might be the most important thing your pet can teach you. The wag of a tail when he sees you, the nudge on the couch that it is time to be petted, the micro-burst of energy to chase a phantom – all of these are priceless moments to be savored. Appreciate them when they come from your pet, and look for them in the world and people around you. Life will be richer, for sure!
Comments? Have you learned something valuable from your aging pet that you can apply to your own life. Please share your thoughts in the Comments section below.
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