Osteoarthritis, or Degenerative Joint Disease, is a common disease in our older pets. While many owners chalk the stiffness and decreased mobility seen in these pets as just “old age”, they can dramatically impact a pet’s quality of life. Dogs with osteoarthritis rarely vocalize their discomfort with cries or a non-weight bearing lameness. The changes are often subtle and can involve symptoms such as stiffness, reluctance to climb stairs, weight shifting when standing still and a decreased desire to go on walks.
The Loneliness Epidemic. Is Loneliness a Bigger Public Health Threat than Obesity? Feeling Lonely Can be as Deadly as Smoking. These are just a few recent headlines about social isolation and loneliness, which appear to be increasing in all segments of the population but disproportionately impact seniors, who are more likely to live alone and lack social support.
Like candy, organizations that help senior dogs come in different colors and flavors. Some operate on a shoestring, while some have six-figure budgets. Some are foster based, while others have shelter facilities. And some coalesced recently, while others have built their organizations over decades. These programs' commonalities, however, are greater than their differences, and their shared goal, as succinctly expressed by Kelly Wolfe, is "to keep animals with people."
Senior dogs are AWESOME. They’re calm, mellow, sweet, loveable, and they’re usually already house-trained. All of these traits make them so much easier than puppies — and yet, as wonderful as animals over the age of 7 are, they often represent the highest-risk population at shelters across the United States, where nearly 3 million dogs and cats are put down each year.
“Senior dogs have always spoken to me.” It’s Friday morning and Dawn Kemper, co-founder of Young at Heart Senior Pet Adoptions in suburban Chicago, is running a mile a minute, multitasking, seeing to every detail as she readies the rollout of the rescue’s new program, Club Grand Paw, the latest embodiment of the organization’s mission “to rescue and rehome senior dogs and cats, to educate the public on the benefits of adopting older pets and their care, and to reduce the euthanasia rate for adoptable senior pets.”
Responsible and caring Dog Moms & Dads try to do our best. We love and nurture, provide preventive veterinary care, seek out quality nutrition and teach our pups (even those only still young at heart) manners and basic obedience that not only makes them welcomed family members, but also keeps them out of harm’s way.