Bacchus. He was an old boy when he left us. For a Saint Bernard. A few months short of ten. His disease took it's toll, aging him even more rapidly than had he been younger.
As Christmas rolls around, we find ourselves still missing him. There is an emptiness to the house. It's not quite the home it was when he was with us. Many friends encouraged us to get another dog. Others understood why we said no more. We're not so young any more either. We had two major concerns.
One was the pain. We've been through it six times. We don't want to go through it again. Especially since with Bacchus it was such an emotional roller coaster. I'm not sure I could survive another bout of anxiety that intense.
The second concern is what if our pet would out live us? We have no family to take him. What would become of him? What would the upheaval do to him?
Most of our friends, scattered throughout the country, are animal lovers who share our intensity of devotion. Yesterday we received a Christmas card from just such friends. They expressed their sorrow about our losing Bacchus and shared that they understood our thinking. They, however, have an alternative!
Living in the country, they have a collection of strays and mutts that become instant family. They also live not far from Texas A & M which, in conjunction with it's Vet Med school, has a retirement home for pet's who have lost their owners!
What a fantastic concept! They are not put up for adoption, they are just given a home for as long as necessary. They have shelter and albeit a new family and surroundings, one that will be consistent. They have medical care from the vet med school and 24/7 care from the students. They are not caged but allowed to roam. Like home.
I did a google search to see if there were other facilities of this sort and could find none. Not that there aren't any, but none were readily apparent. Someday, when money isn't so tight and good works can find funding once again, this is a concept I'd like to see blossom! It isn't inexpensive, but isn't beyond budgeting. It may just be the comfort zone seniors need in order to have pets during their later years.
What about us? I doubt it. It's a decision for the two of us and being at odds doesn't help. You see, it's the pain.