Losing a pet is never easy. No matter how long they’ve been a member of the family, they’re never with us long enough. Because of this, rescuing a senior dog is not for everyone. Many people will say “I just don’t think I could do it – I couldn’t take on a senior, knowing I would lose them so soon.”
Taking on a senior dog who only has a few years (or less) remaining is not the same as taking on a younger dog and living with them for many years. Time is a factor that is ever present and there is always the delicate dance between hope and acceptance – hope that, with good medical care, their life will be renewed… but accepting that, perhaps, they are not meant to be with us for a long time. So when we rescue a senior dog, we have a mission. We go into this ‘mission’ knowing there is a purpose. Our goal is to ensure that the dog receives the very best for the ‘rest of their life’ …to give them rich experiences, unconditional love, and the medical care needed to make them comfortable as they walk their final journey.
Regardless of the time we have with them, when they are ready to leave this world, we let them go. It is understood that this moment is our final gift to them. We accept that we have provided them with all that they needed while they were with us and we helped them to see that they are loved and that they matter – despite having a past that may have told them differently.
It would be so easy if there were guarantees that you could adopt a senior and not fall in love with them… but those guarantees don’t exist. The emotional investment in loving and caring for them… sometimes having to provide extra care for age-related issues… is what makes losing them all the more difficult. It is an emotionally-sacrificing effort, for sure and not everyone can do it. For those of you who can, you will receive the gift of unending love and devotion for, after they’ve gone and it is your time, they will be waiting for you – the one who loved them when no one else would.