I work with a lot of older animals. And two question arise. Is aging itself the problem? Or is it our attitude about aging the problem?
From where I sit, most people see aging as the problem. I hear all the time what the animal can’t do anymore. People really get concerned about this and think something is wrong.
I’ll share a story from about 19 years ago when I was starting out as a communicator.
I received a call from a woman who was seriously considering putting her older dog down. She was concerned since her dog did not chase the ball anymore, slept more and that there was no quality of life for her dog.
I opened up to the dog and she wanted to know what the big deal was about chasing the stupid ball. She did not care at all that she did not chase the ball and lying in the sun sleeping was really nice. The dog was confused the woman wanted to kill her because she did not chase the ball. She wanted to know why chasing the ball was so important and why couldn’t the human enjoy sitting in the sun with her?
I explained the dogs point of view to this woman and she was so relieved that her dog was fine and the dog was relieved it got to stay.
I was floored. I am grateful to this day for that woman and dog. I learned a huge lesson about aging and how animals see it. They just are with it. No judgment, no worry, no quality of life issue. Those are our attitudes.
Going back to the two questions. I don’t see aging is the problem. And as I say that, yes there are changes and sometimes issues to deal with. It is simply life in an older body. Our attitude is a whole different story.
I am going to sit in the sun with my aging cat and think about my attitude. I have no doubt she will set me straight.