2009-07-23 / Columnists

Pets, Pets, Pets

by Joanne Anderson

The following poem, <IT by One author unknown , i s dedicated to the many senior dogs in shelters hoping for someone to notice them and to the fine people who do:

One by One

One by one, they pass by my cage Too old, too worn, too broken, they say Way past his time, he can't run and play Theyshake their heads and go on their way A little old man, arthritic and sore It seems that I am wanted no more I once had a home, I once had a bed A place that was warm, and where I was fed Now my muzzle is grey, and my eyes slowly fail Who wants a dog so old and so frail? My family decided I didn't belong I got in their way, my attitude wrong Now I sit in this kennel, where day after day Theyounger ones are chosen and taken away When I had come to the end of my rope, You saw my face and again I knew hope You saw past the grey, the legs wobbly with age And felt I deserved life beyond this cage You took me home, gave me food and a bed You gently stroked my poor tired head We snuggle and play, you talk to me low You love me so dearly and make sure I know Although I have loved most of my life with another You outshine them with love so much stronger I promise to return all the love I can give To you my dear friend, as long as I live I may be with you for a week, or for years We will share many smiles, and a few tears When the time comes, that God deems I must leave I know you will cry and your heart it will grieve When I arrive at the Bridge all brand new My thoughts and my heart will still be with you And I will brag to all who will hear Of the person who made my last days so dear.

Yes, puppies are cute and cuddly, but they are also tons of work. In contrast, there are many reasons to consider bringing a senior dog into your life. Oldsters are instant buddies and get into a routine easily. They love to cuddle, usually know commands plus the meaning of the word "NO", are housetrained, and do not chew the furniture. Older dogs settle into the pack without making constant demands for your attention. Most important, a senior dog is forever thankful that you have saved his life and returns your kind gesture with constant devotion.

Some folks are hesitant to take in a senior dog for they fear their bond will be short-lived. Remember- there are no guarantees in life. Quality of time together can trump quantity, especially when your dog's clouded eyes remind you to cherish every walk together, every day together. A national organization called The Grey Muzzle (www.greymuzzle.org) improves the lives of at-risk senior dogs. More about this wonderful group coming soon…..

For Adoption: "Tyra" an older Rottie mix in Cage 42 who has been at Babylon Town Shelter (631-643-9270) Lamar St. W. Babylon waiting patiently more than five months represents the senior set. She has previously been the Beacon poster pet.

The rest of the shelter dogs and cats are available at Oyster Bay Town Shelter (677-5784) Miller Pl. Syosset. "Ripley" #473 shown here is a 4 year old Puggle. Other dogs include: "Gypsy" #367, a Cattle Dog mix; an older Beagle #484; "Rusty #322- energetic yellow Lab. Cats: "Josie" #462- a 9 year old declaw needs to be an only cat; "Pepper"# 470- pretty Bengal mix declaw; many kittens. ** Special Kitten Needs Home: "Timothy" the 3- legged tabby kitten, now about 9 weeks old, featured in "Pets" last week still needs a forever home. Call 631-226-5571.

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