Animal caretakers with a natural, positive approach
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Caring For Senior Pets: When Every Day May Be Goodbye

Pet sitting isn’t all puppies and kittens. In fact, the opposite is closer to the truth: we care for more senior and geriatric animals than we do youngsters. It makes sense. In their older years, animals often prefer to stay closer to home. They’d rather sleep in their own beds, spend lazy afternoons on their couches, and snooze in their favorite sunbeams. They may no longer care for the activity of daycares and boarding kennels and may (sadly) no longer be the ideal road trip companions. That’s where pet sitters come in.

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Our senior dogs and cats don’t always greet us at the door as they often don’t even hear us enter. It’s our job, then, to go find them in their favorite napping spot and wake them gently. Sometimes they’ll hear us walking towards them and this will be enough to wake them from their nap, but sometimes we’ll need to sit next to them and wake them on our own, always doing our best not to startle them. We’ll let them know we’re there by talking to them first and then gently stroke their side. Since they’re used to us coming over by now, they’ll pick up their heads to look at us and quickly flop back over, offering us their bellies to rub. Cats will often let out a small “mrrrr” and headbutt our hands.

Once they’ve had their fill of lovin’, they’re usually ready for our routine. Our older pups will plod along on our short walks and will turn back to go inside as soon as they do their business. Or they’ll trot out into the back yard, do their business, maybe sniff around some, and make their way back to the house, eager to come back in. It’s not long before they are back in their comfy spot ready to doze again until either our next visit or until their person comes home.

Really, these older animals are some of the absolutely easiest, non-demanding, pets we care for. Yet, they’re often the ones that find their way closest to our hearts.

At the end of each visit, we’ll give them a kiss*, tell them we love them and stay healthy, strong, and comfy until we see them next. With our older pets (our clients), there’s always the feeling that “What if there is no next time?” so each “til next time” is always special… just in case.

There have definitely been times where our “seeya later! be a good girl/boy!” has been the last time we’ve ever seen them. Speaking from experience, it can be really hard not getting to say a true goodbye, so that’s why we appreciate each moment with these guys… we never rush to leave them or to finish our visit in a hurry. If that ends up being our last time seeing them, we need it to be just right. And so do they.

This post is in memory of all of the oldies that we’ve loved and lost and all of the senior pets that we’ll tend to in the future. . The photograph is of our latest doggy to leave us, Teeny.

*we try not to invade their space by putting our faces up to theirs, so we like to kiss our hand and stroke their head or bodies, where ever they are most comfortable and never on a sore spot.

2 Comments
  1. I can agree that older pets are some of the easiest and least demanding to care for. I can also agree that it’s very easy to get closely attached to them. My parent’s dog is getting on in years, and isn’t nearly as active as he used to be. He still needs as much care as he used to, but it’s a different kind of care at this point. You just have to be sure to stay on top of it to keep them happy and healthy.

    • “He still needs as much care as he used to, but it’s a different kind of care at this point. You just have to be sure to stay on top of it to keep them happy and healthy.”

      Hi Keara,

      You’re exactly right. We couldn’t have said it better! Thanks for your comment. :)

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