I had a friend named Oscar. He was older. His friends had found other places to live and long moved away. He still had a lot of pep, but was well into his golden years. He was lonely and felt isolated. He was still looking for that special place to call home and that special someone who needed him. He wanted a purpose.
Oscar was no longer a young pup. He had a lot to offer and a lot more life in him, but he’d mostly lay around dreaming of his younger days, or of a companion who would love and appreciate him. He longed to feel like he belonged somewhere.
I got to know Oscar very well and looked forward to our visits. After some time I didn’t see Oscar anymore. I was thankful, because I was told he finally found what he was looking for, so I can’t say that I was sad to see him go.
You see, although Oscar’s story is very relatable to us humans, Oscar was actually a four-legged friend. Like many older dogs and cats at animal shelters all across the nation Oscar was often overlooked because of his age. Youthful, lively and energetic he was not. But what he lacked in pep he made up for ten-fold in snuggles, tenderness and adoration (and no baby teeth!).
The healing power of pets for aging adults is simply amazing. No matter where you live, how old you are or what your circumstance is, a pet is there to love you unconditionally each and everyday.
A pet helps reduce stress, lower blood pressure and increase social interaction and physical activity. Pets also help seniors focus on something other than physical problems and negative preoccupations about loss or aging. After all, a good snuggle from a furry friend is all you really need to feel better, isn’t it?
So if you are a current pet owner, anticipate becoming one or simply look forward to the benefits of visiting therapy dogs in your area, it may not be too far-fetched to acknowledge that the relationship between pet and human is simply purrfect.
The Merion was recently featured for being pet friendly. Check it out in Chicago Tribune.