Monday, May 9, 2011

How To Find the Perfect Canine Companion

I recently wrote about pets, dogs specifically,and how they can help older adults maintain good physical and mental health. And finding the right dog is critical to the relationship being a positive experience. Many people get swept away with a dogs beauty, or maybe they have seen the latest movie with a very cute pup in it, or any number of ways to be influenced. But, the reality is that the beautiful Border Collie that is herding the sheep in the field, will not be a happy camper living in an apartment, with a person who cant give it a job or lots of vigorous exercise. And the majestic Husky does not fit into the Florida condo life style. so, you see what I mean. Do your home work before you make this decision. See what temperment comes with different breeds, what about short hair v. long hair. As I get older, smaller dogs are better for me, when it is necessary to pick them up. I have found the very best place to go to adopt pets are the rescue organizations. They get to know the dogs, help fit them with the right person, and besides that, you would be saving a life, and discouraging practices like puppy mills. All of my pets have been rescue animals, and I have been blessed with many wonderful years of enjoyment with them. One dog in particular came from Emily was a combo of Golden Retriever and Cocker Spaniel. Dogs for the Deaf is a non-profit who trains assistance dogs for people with hearing loss. Well, Emily was a pooch who really didn't want to work that hard, but loved people, so she became a "career change" dog and I adopted her. I put her through the Therapy Dog training and when she was certified she went to my office in the hospital where I worked, and greeted and calmed people in crisis. When I retired she did too, and lived until last year when sadly she passed away. There are other wonderful places in my Southern Oregon area to find such wonderful dogs. is the adoption center of the local animal control division, run mostly by faithful volunteers that can help you choose a dog. is our branch of The Humane Society, a dedicated group of people to assist you in making a choice. And is a Sanctuary for abused and neglected animals of all kinds, including dogs. I mention this organization because of the wonderful volunteer opportunities. And if you are not ready, or are unable to take on a dog, simply volunteering with them is a way to find great joy.

I was really amazed at how much more I got from my pets when I retired. Getting to spend more time with them has certainly helped my mental and physical health. I highly recommend it!