Recently, I received an email from a local petsitter who was involved in a very challenging situation. An elderly man was hospitalized unexpectedly and knew his dog was at home alone. Despite the seriousness of his condition, he persistently asked the hospital staff to do something to help his pet at home. With his permission, they contacted the petsitter to check on the dog. It's a good thing they did. The 8 month old puppy, left alone, had all but destroyed the house, probably out of fear and separation anxiety. Between the petsitters, the hospital staff and a local rescue organization, the pup is being cared for until there is more information about the patient's long term prognosis. While this sounds like a simple story, this took a lot of dedicated, caring people to make this happen.
This situation made me think about the dilemma that elderly pet lovers face. I have met several seniors who would love to have an animal companion, but are fearful of a health crisis resulting in the pet being homeless or, worse yet, being euthanized because no one wants them. In other words, they care enough about animals to sacrifice their own happiness in order to prevent something like the above scenario from happening. In other instances, people try to provide financially for their pets, in order to make sure they are cared for if something happens to the owner. Still other people take a chance and choose to remain devoted owners. I wonder what I would do if faced with those kinds of choices. I've had pets in my life from early childhood. I can't imagine what I would do without them in my golden years and especially at the end of my life. (Sigh) I wish there was an easy answer.