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Posted By Ann

Two and a half years ago I adopted a ten year-old dog, hoping to give an old dog two years happiness. The two years became two and half years and I think I can confidently say for the greater part of that time he was a very happy dog. But what I gave him was nothing to what he gave me and everyone who knew him. He was a joy to have around, cheerful and loving but he was not unique. In shelters, pounds and refuges everywhere there are so many older dogs with so much to give, most of them are doomed to die simply because no-one will offer a home to an old dog. One reason I have heard given is that it will not live long. Long life is not a guarantee for anyone; a puppy can get sick or be killed.
Dogs and cats of mature, not always old, age are frequently in need of a home through no fault of their own. They have advantages over puppies and kittens, they have outgrown the baby destructive age, they are house-trained, and have often had some other form of education. You can see exactly what you are getting, there is no danger of the cute little pup growing into something the size of a donkey or small horse. This appealing baby stage lasts an incredibly short time in a cat or dog’s life and brings with it other less appealing things, such as puddles on the floor. So many dogs who were adopted at this stage have lost their charm even before they reach maturity and find themselves lonely and bewildered in a shelter. How much more sad and hurt must an old dog feel who has given so much love and devotion only to be abandoned in return. Yet so many of these dogs have an inexhaustible supply of love to give, seasoned by forgiveness for the human race.
In the time he lived with me Gus taught me so much about both these qualities  and also that the value of any relationship does not depend on the length of time it lasts but on the amount of love shared. The only flaw in my time with Gus, one of the loveliest canine characters  I met in a long lifetime of living  with and loving dogs is that it was so short, but I would not have missed knowing him for anything.

For More About Gus see July 2012 Blog




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