Monday, June 30, 2014

Age is just a number - for shelter animals, too

13-year-old Clinton is waiting for a forever home
 (photo: Humane Society of  Huron Valley)
I'm a volunteer at a local animal shelter. I go in on the weekends, and walk dogs, clean cages, distribute pet food - whatever they need me to do.

I've never been much of a volunteer, so the fact I'm actually doing this - and not just thinking about how I should be doing this - is kind of unusual for me.

But I love animals. And the shelter I'm at is outstanding, where there is no limit of time on adoption, and there are many programs in place to promote publicity for the animals.

Usually, after I come home from volunteering, I'm ebullient. It's not a sad place. The animals are wonderful, the staff is appreciative and I feel like I've helped them accomplish something good.

Except yesterday. Yesterday was crowded, with many clients looking at dogs and cats, and interested in adopting them. That's great. But then I walked into the puppy room and saw a woman pull her teen-age son away from a corner kennel.

"That's not a puppy," she told him. "That's an old dog - you don't want some old dog."

She was right on one count; the dog was not a puppy. He was an older dog. There are sometimes so many animals at the shelter that grown dogs are placed in the puppy room. But I was appalled at her callousness. It bothers me enough that so many senior dogs end up in shelters in the first place, but when I heard those words, my heart just sank.

It stayed low for the rest of the day. I couldn't get her words out of my head - because they're wrong. Very wrong. Senior dogs can be wonderful companions for many who don't want or can't handle more energetic,younger dogs. They are usually gentle, sweet-natured and affectionate, and I think their graying whiskers are beautiful. Yes, if they have medical issues, that needs to be considered before adoption. But I hope people know that it's not always the length of a relationship that makes it meaningful.

I hope someone shows more kindness to that woman in her golden years. As for me, I guess the old saying holds true ... eavesdroppers never hear anything good.

No comments:

Post a Comment