Monday, December 7, 2009

Elderly Owners: Butterball and Fred's stories

In the past week, Cares4pets has rescued two animals that were in desperate need of help. Fred, a 14 year old yorkie mix, came to us when his elderly owner entered hospice care due to a long fight with AIDS. Unfortunately, Fred was not invited to come along, so he ended up in rescue. Fred is mostly blind (due to cataracts), mostly deaf, and has very few teeth. What he wants most of the time is to sit on your lap. Even though Fred only has a few months or a few years left in him, we are confident that we can find him a home where he can retire in peace.

Butterball, a black and white long haired cat, on the other hand, has a much longer story. Her 80+ year old owner got evicted from his home over a month ago. Neighbors on his block aren't sure where he went, supposedly with family, but they do know that the house has been solidly boarded up since the eviction. Butterball's owner had a few cats, most of whom had been accounted for. However, no one was sure where Butterball had gone. When workers came to clean out the house last week, they found a skinny, dirty cat in the basement. Somehow, Butterball survived on her own in a boarded up house for over a month. They called us immediately, and she's been in our care every since. Poor Butterball; she's very anemic, dehydrated, covered in fleas, has very little hair left, and is skinny as a rail. Our vet pumped her full of fluids, and we've been feeding her ever since. Most days she just lays in her cage, looking at us with sad, sad eyes. This morning, when her foster mom went in to feed her, she gave a pitiful meow and lifted her head to be scratched. We're hopeful that with a few more weeks of TLC, Butterball will be back to normal. In the meantime, we're just thankful that she made it out alive.

All too often, elderly owners are unable to keep the pets that they love and adore. While many of these owners have families and friends able to take care of their pets in their absence, sadly, this is not always the case. These animals are then abandoned, left in their homes, sent to the streets, or dumped in shelters. Because these animals are often older themselves and may have other medical problems, they are oftentimes less adoptable. Because they came out of loving homes where they were adored, they also tend to be much more depressed; they know what it means to be loved and taken care of, and they are very aware all of that has changed for them. So, next time you are in a shelter or looking at a rescue group's posting, take a second to think about these abandoned animals. They may not be all that happy to see you, they may not look very pretty, but they still need your love.