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Our Precious Senior Dogs

Anyone living with a dog will tell you it's an enriching experience. But the flipside is the sad reality of witnessing your beloved dog age. 

Jake: My Precious Senior Dog

My senior dog Jake - who is sixteen at the time of writing this - has slowed down a great deal since I adopted him at four years old.

His balance is a little off since his stroke, he sleeps heavily and a lot, and is now completely deaf. He usually moves quite slowly, but will sometimes have a massive burst of energy and start sprinting up and down the hallway. Then, when he's done, he toddles along arthritically again.

However, on the upside, he still enjoys his food, being taken for car rides, and going for leisurely strolls.

Senior Dogs Need Special Care

Our precious senior dogs tend to require extra care. Just as our bodies change as we age, so do the bodies of dogs.

As with us, the changes of aging tend to happen bit by bit. It's one little change here, another little change there. But over time, all those little changes equal an overall big change, and the result is an entirely different dog (at least physically). It's sad - painful even - to witness a once-robust dog become frail, and to see our beloved companion deteriorate into decrepitude.

The good news is that, with the help of specialised products for not-so-able-bodied dogs, we can ease their way into old age.

Abandoned Senior Dogs

Distressing as it is to watch our canine friends age, the joy of having a dog as a member of the family greatly outweighs the sadness of watching them grow old. And changed as they are, senior dogs are just as precious as when they first entered our lives. In my (un-humble) opinion, our loved ones don't lose value just because they grow old.

But I know for a fact that a lot of people don't agree with me. I know this because, while people abandon dogs of all ages, a high percentage of those abandoned are senior dogs.

True, it's not all smooth sailing caring for our precious senior dogs - there are lots of ups and downs - but the added care they require is no excuse to dump them as so many people do. Our precious senior dogs deserve better than that. They may not be the sprightly youngsters they once were, but they're still full of love, and are depending on us to be as loyal to them as they are to us.

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Adopt a homeless animal instead - they all deserve a second chance

It's estimated that 130,000 dogs and 60,000 cats are killed every year in Australia because there are not enough homes for them all. And the global numbers amount to millions upon millions every single year.

Puppy mills are a major contributor to the terrible problem of overpopulation. Puppy mills are essentially 'dog factories' where dogs are forced to churn out litter after litter, with no thought for the welfare of the dogs and all thought for profit. The dogs live in appallingly dirty, cramped conditions all their lives, and when they no longer serve their purpose they're killed, dumped or sold to vivisection laboratories.

Petshops fit into the picture because puppy mills are generally where petshops get their animals from. Furthermore, having animals in shop windows encourages impulse purchases, and adding an animal to your family should be a conscious, careful decision - NOT one to be made while shoe shopping.

Breeders contribute enormously to the tragic statistics above too. And it doesn't matter whether they're professional breeders or backyard breeders, and whether they breed for profit or not, because while there are homeless animals sitting on death row in shelters, any and all animal breeding is utterly irresponsible.

Now, here's where you come in. You can either be part of the problem or part of the solution. You can either buy animals from puppy mills, petshops or breeders and be part of the problem. Or you can adopt from a shelter or rescue organisation and be part of the solution.

If I haven't convinced you, visit your local shelter to see the homeless animals. Let their innocent faces convince you that adopting is the only responsible choice to make.

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