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Moving to a Nursing Home, Must Re-Home Dog... or Not?

What do you feel, or think, when you read this Facebook post? This post circulated on Facebook in early February.    "Yes I can help," was my initial thought when I saw this (a couple of rescue friends had tagged me).     It took about 5 seconds for my brain to process the gravity of this post, and for  ~what I know  to come~ to surface.     " Often a pet is a senior’s sole companion and when they lose their pet, the senior often goes into a downward spiral and we end up losing the senior not long after the pet is gone," as simply put on hospets.org .      Losing a pet, especially for a senior citizen, can be fatal.          So when I read through some of the comments on this post's thread, seeing only, "I can take the dog," "I pm-ed you," and tagging so-and-so and so-forth, I felt helpless, and at the same time wanted to scream.       Hello... is anyone thinking about this lady?!      Of course I commented on the thread, mentioning our rescu
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Middle -Aged, Yes Pets, No Kids

  More Options Now Than Ever for Pet-Loving Seniors   Something shared by a friend on Facebook caught Margaret’s eye last fall. It was a post about including pets in planning. As an owner of 3 dogs, a single, middle-aged, woman, Margaret identified with the post. She had wondered, “who would take care of my pets if something happened to me?” 2020, among other things, could easily be considered, Year of the Pet. With Covid-19 came a yearning for constant companionship in the home, which led many to seek out pet ownership. Fortunately, there are more options now than ever for older Americans with pets. Many Senior Living Facilities are Now Pet-Friendly Most elder care professionals recognize the vast array of health benefits that pets offer seniors, like lowering the rates of bad stuff such as cardiovascular disease, anxiety and depression, and increasing the rates of good stuff , like social interaction and calmness. This has led many senior living facilities to not

Should Pure-Bred Puppies Cost More Than Rescue Puppies?

 "$300?! If the Humane Society's charging that much for puppies people will just pay a little more and go buy from a breeder!" While I'm embarrassed to admit it, those words came out of my mouth just a few years ago.     Why did I think that way?      Maybe I was spoiled by our low adoption fees from my time working at the municipal shelter in Miami ($65/dog adoptions, $35/2 for 1 cat adoptions and 1/2 off adoptions every Wednesday).     Maybe I thought a 'non-profit' shouldn't be charging so much, weren't they a charity after all?     Maybe I was sincerely worried a lot of people would say, "If I have to pay that much for a mutt, I might as well go by the purebred (insert your favorite breed) I've always wanted."    I'm a "rescued is my favorite breed" person through and through.  But I know that not everyone is. And that's o.k.  -But it took me a long time to 'get there'; I used to not even be able to befriend

Brian's Story

Brian is a young man, maybe in his early 30's.  Today he shared some of his story with me during phase 1 of a cat adoption.       "Growing up we always had pets, like a lot of pets.  Mom wasn't savvy about spaying and neutering and all that.  If there were strays in the neighborhood, she'd feed them and the next thing you know, they'd be ours," said Brian.       Working with people during pet adoptions, training, pet surrenders, and (especially) pet retention cases, sometimes I act as a counselor of sorts.  It's my job to help people open up to explore what's going on under the surface.  Some people have no desire to open up; these are the few and far between that seem incapable of bonding in a meaningful way with pets, or people. However, m ost open up with the right questions and a listening ear to follow.  And others, like Brian, are so wise they need no prompting... they 'go there' all on their own.       "You see, my mom

Despite Added Quality Of Life for Seniors, Pet Ownership Decreases with Age

The advantages of pet ownership for seniors are undeniable.     Some studies show pet ownership lowers blood pressure.      Others reveal pet ownership relieves depression and lowers triglyceride  levels.      There's even data showing post-heart-attack and/or stroke patients that are dog owners live longer than non-dog-owners.  A Heart     We could go on and on about studies and data but the fact is, as a pet owner, none of these stats surprise me.        There are some things in life we just know, without even needing to 'see the numbers.'      Knowing that by being a long-time pet lover and owner, my physical, emotional, mental and even spiritual health are benefited,  is plain fact to me. Former foster dog Chester and me.        And knowing these benefits are even  more significant for our senior  population isn't surprising.        -As we age, we often spend more time alone so the benefit of companionship a pet offers

Why You Need a Will

A book I'm reading, Estate Planning When You Have Pets , inspired me to write this blog.     As the owner of The Paw and Feather Plan I help people think ahead to prevent their pets from becoming homeless.  With a little planning, this can be a surprisingly simple task!           For the legal aspects of planning (wills, directives and trusts) I refer clients to competent, animal-loving, estate-planning attorneys.      So why then am I writing about "why you need a will?"      I should just leave this topic to the professionals right?! -Wrong.     While I cannot (nor do I want to) offer legal advice since I'm not an attorney, I can share my brief story with wills and how my perception of life and death planning has changed over the past couple of years.  This is a topic people need to be comfortable contemplating and discussing; after all we're all going to die one day!       When my son was born in 2014 I started thinking about getti

Is There a Puppy Shortage, or a Puppy Surplus?

The answer to that question has a lot to do with where you live.     If you're in a rural area in the southeastern part of the United States there are still far more puppies than there are homes for them. There are likely abandoned dogs in public places, and your municipal shelters are likely still euthanizing for time/space.     In 2006, here in Louisville, Ky., I worked for Louisville Metro Animal Services (LMAS).       At that time our shelter, along with the grand majority of shelters nationwide, was euthanizing more than 1/2 of the animals that came in ... and most euthanasia was due to time/space.       This means "time/space" was written on the kennel cards of the dozens of animals that were put down daily as the reason for euthanasia... referring to the lack of kennel or cage s pace  and the lack of time to wait for a kennel or cage to open up.  Simba, a transport dog we fostered     This is still hard for me to even write about.  -Losing s