As published in the Savannah Morning News - 3 February 2013
Finding Unconditional Love
February is for lovers, right? With all the hype of Valentine’s Day, cards, candy and flowers, it’s no wonder the single folks don’t climb back in bed for the whole month and wish it away. Well, there’s hope for singles to find love again when you least expect it! Just when you thought romance is over and you have become invisible, think again!
During February, this column will be devoted to living life to the fullest, and that includes romance! Seniors, when you think your love life is washed up, take another look at the opportunity that awaits you when you become more active and mingle with others. I will share stories from our local retirement communities, and ooh la la, there are some tales to be told.
If you have a romance that blossomed after you made the move to a retirement community, please contact me. I would love to share your story!
Today I want to discuss a different kind of love story, about unconditional love. Last month, I decided to become a foster parent to dogs that seniors could no longer keep. Whether it is the inability to take a dog to a skilled nursing facility, or because of an owner’s illness or death, I could not bear the thought that a loving, loyal dog would have to be put down.
Pets provide seniors with unconditional love and companionship that wards off loneliness. They are part of the family, so giving up a pet has to be heart breaking for seniors. As important as pets are in seniors’ lives, if the day comes that they must find their pet a new home, contacting one of our area rescue groups is the answer. Senior’s pets are a great adoption choice, as they are generally gentle, well cared for and house broken.
I had the pleasure of meeting the good folks at Save-a-Life, and I have fostered Lila, who is available for adoption. She belonged to a senior that had to give her up. As you can see in the photo, which was taken the day after we met, Lila is affectionate, quickly bonds and is a very sweet dog. She is house broken, loves her chew toys, and is not destructive or a digger. Lila will be 3 this month, is 28 pounds, intelligent and playful. She would be happiest as a single dog, as she loves all the attention.
Lila is a Border collie mix with a silky white body, a brown spot on her back, and a fabulous brown and black mask! She requires a lot of exercise, so is probably not the best match for seniors. She is definitely a herder, and has taken to herding me and my beagle Molly. In a recent visit to a park, five of us stood there in awe, as this fearless little dog brought in three big black labs, a huge brown dog, and the full grown Doberman. She was in her element, and I was amazed.
Older pets are a great adoption choice if you don’t want to go through the challenging puppy stage. I have had 2 rescues, and both were grateful and appreciative older dogs. Finding the right fit is important for anyone who wants to give a pet a loving home. Pet rescue organizations frequently have information about their adoptee’s past, and they assist you in making a good choice.
If you are a senior moving to one of Savannah’s retirement communities, I have found most communities to be pet friendly, so be sure to ask about pet policies. It’s not too late to adopt an older, companion pet. As I checked around, independent living communities have few restrictions, but those restrictions may increase for assisted living facilities. Check limitations on number of pets, breed and weight.
Save a life today, and give yourself the gift of unconditional love. It’s awesome!
Visit Pet Smart on Saturdays from 11AM to 2:30PM to meet some of Save-a-Life’s available pets. To see all pets online, visit www.savealifepets.org. Their hotline: (912) 598-SPAY (7729).
Coming soon…Senior’s Pet Adoptions on www.GraciousMoves.com, as we team up with area rescue groups to find loving homes for seniors’ pets.