Rhiann sat on a maroon wing-backed chair inside Riverside Veterinary Clinic. Beside her lay Rae, the elderly beagle. In front of her, Colter’s silver-haired veterinarian, Dr. Henry Black, leaned back in a leather chair behind his walnut desk.
“I’m sorry about Rae, but with her age, diabetes, and the glaucoma’s progression, there isn’t much we can do at this stage,” he said, as he steepled his fingers.
Rhiann nodded. “I thought as much. I wish my grandmother’s friend had contacted me sooner. With her own eyesight dwindling, though, she most likely didn’t know how bad Rae’s condition had gotten.”
“That was very kind of you to take her dog.”
Rhiann smiled. “Grams wouldn’t have it any other way. Eleanor was a friend, and we felt it was the right thing to do when she had to move in with her daughter.” Rhiann stood and extended her hand. “Thank you, Dr. Black. I appreciate the opportunity to work with you, both personally and professionally.”
The veterinarian stood and shook her hand. “I look forward to our association, too. I’m sure we’ll be sending clients to one another.”
Rhiann looked at the napping beagle. “Come on, Rae. Time to pick up Jax from the groomer.”
As he walked her to the door, Dr. Black said, “I admire you for planning to establish a rescue here. With our ruralness, I often get in strays and sometimes even pets that owners cannot care for anymore. It will be nice to work with you to ensure these animals find new, loving homes.”
- Excerpt from Rescue Road - A Clean, Contemporary Romance
In my recently-released novel, Rescue Road, my primary female character, Rhiann, rescues dogs. Rae, the elderly beagle mentioned in the above book excerpt, has diabetes and glaucoma, two conditions that not only can go hand-in-hand, but are conditions that often affect aging pets. Arthritis and kidney disease are also common in elderly dogs and cats. As humans age, we also tend toward greater illnesses and afflictions. Yet, for some reason, many people dispose of their senior pets. Perhaps, as in my story, an elderly person goes to live where animals aren’t welcome or that elderly person passes away and no one in the family wants the pet that’s left behind. Whatever the reason, according to an article in Dogtime, "old dogs and cats have higher euthanasia rates or even live out their lives in a shelter kennel.”
Even though older pets aren’t adopted as quickly as younger animals, there are several good reasons to do so. Below are five:
1. Older animals are likely already housebroken and senior dogs more likely to know basic obedience than younger canines.
2. Senior pets make great companions for senior and less active people. They are content to enjoy a leisurely walk around the neighborhood or yard (yes, even some cats are leash
3. They often make great therapy animals, both for the adopter and for certification, going into senior living residences, libraries, schools, and hospitals (yes, old pets can learn new tricks!)
4. Senior animals still have lots of love to give and are devoted to the person caring for them.
5. What you see is what you get. You already know the animal’s size and temperament when you adopt a senior dog or cat.
Find additional reasons to adopt an elderly dog or cat here:
November is Adopt-a-Senior-Pet Month. My household currently
consists oftwo eight-year-old dogs (older, but not yet quite
senior) and two 14-year-old cats. We adopted Jeremiah, our Shih Tzu
, two years ago and Sadie, our springer spaniel, we adopted less than two months ago. The cats, however, have been with us nearly all their lives; we adopted them at 10 weeks of age just over 14 years ago (they were born in August 2005 and we adopted them in October of that year). We love and adore each pet. They bring us companionship, laughter, and love and they help us exercise, socialize, and relax. I relish cuddle times with them, reading a book, watching TV, or simply
lying in bed. They give their devotion and are always happy to be near. There’s nothing like
coming home after work or errands and having the dogs greet me at the door with happy dances and tail wags and the cats meeting me in the bedroom as I change clothes purring and wanting attention.
Scientists, including medical officials at the Centers for Disease Control, say having a pet makes a person healthier, mentally and physically. If you’re considering adopting a pet, don’t overlook the older and senior animals. They will fill you with joy and give you undivided loyalty. We can all use more of that in our lives. My character, Rhiann, would agree.
Rescue Road is a clean, contemporary romance set in the beautiful state of Montana and is now available, in time for Adopt-a-Senior Pet Month. The book can be purchased
on Kindle, Nook, and Kobo as an e
-book and in print from Amazon. Visit my website to learn more about the book: http://www.gaylemirwin.com/novels.html
Rescue Road purchase links:
Amazon Print: https://amzn.to/2W7fpBe
Amazon Kindle: https://amzn.to/2W7fpBe
Barnes & Noble Nook: http://bit.ly/2BAvqWZ
If you buy the book, you’re eligible for two additional resources: A recipe e
-book of autumn dishes and the first chapter of Book 2 in the Pet Rescue Romance series I’m writing - both FREE to you when you purchase Rescue Road. Simply email
me a copy of your purchase receipt and I will email these freebies to you. My email address is email@example.com. In the subject line, please put Rescue Road Giveaways. I hope you enjoy the story and I look forward to hearing from you! Feel free to share
this information with other readers and pet lovers you know!
Animal shelters and rescue organizations often find difficulty in the adoption of senior pets. Our society values youth and beauty, even in animals, therefore senior pets are often overlooked when people consider adopting. However, like mature humans, senior pets offer positive life experiences and provide special companionship.
The month of November is recognized as Adopt-a-Senior Pet Month, a time that animal welfare organizations promote the benefits of adopting senior pets. There are several good reasons that people should adopt mature animals.
In 2008, my husband and I adopted a 10-year-old cocker spaniel that had been used for breeding then then tossed away. We hesitated about adopting him, but we love spaniels, and recognizing his chances of being adopted were not great due to his age, we decided to bring him home and grant him his last few years with a loving family. That dog lived to be nearly 18 years of age! I think in part because we gave him a secure, devoted home, but also because he had a buddy with whom to share life.
In 2013, we again adopted after the passing of our 12-year-old springer spaniel (the cocker, Cody, was still with us and was nearly 15). Cody needed a pal and we needed another companion, recognizing Cody’s ever-increasing age. Therefore, we adopted Mary, a springer/cocker mix; she was nearly 7 years old at the time. We wondered if the 8-year-age difference might be a detriment, but, because of Mary’s low-key, sweet demeanor, the two got along very well, and I believe she enhanced the last 2+ years of Cody’s life, even likely extending his life. Because of her older age, Mary’s personality and size were already in place – there was no guessing. She has been a wonderful addition to our family, devoted, kind, friendly, and sweet, and she helped us cope with Cody’s passing in early 2016.
Some people think if an older dog or cat is in the shelter there must be something wrong with it – not so! Many senior pets are relinquished because the owner can no longer care for them due to the person’s health or even death of the owner. Some of the most wonderful companion animals in need of new homes await another chance to shower a family or individual with devotion and affection, just as they did with their previous owner.
Consider adopting an older pet next time you’re looking for another furry companion. You may ultimately be saving a life – and enriching your own!