Where does the time go? We know that our pets will age, but that doesn’t make it easier when we start to see the physical symptoms. Sometimes the indicators show up slowly over time; for some animals it seems like they age almost overnight. We know how to help with physical comfort but what about the emotions? Do we know how best to support our beloved pets as they come to terms with less energy, less mobility, and/or a decline in sight or hearing? As the aging process progresses it is important to stay in communication with our pet and help them with the emotional aspects of aging.
Graceful agers tend to be wise old souls who recognize aging as a natural part of their journey on earth. These animals are generally content, fulfilled, and treasure each moment with their beloved family. It doesn’t seem to matter what their origins are; I’ve met plenty of rescue animals with difficult beginnings whose life purpose is fulfilling and they move through each stage of life with love and well-being. These animals often have significant, even profound, wisdom to impart to their human companions in their elder years. Supporting their ability and desire to guide their human with insights and knowledge deepens even further their joy, contentment, and purpose in life. It seems it is often the animals in this category who surprise their human with a rapid decline followed quickly by their passing. These peaceful, quick passings are usually expected by the animal but can leave their human confused and wishing for time to prepare.
Some animals have a harder time with the physical and emotional aspects of aging. There can be a variety of reasons for being reluctant or resentful of the aging process including concern for their humans as they begin to recognize their mortality. It’s important to communicate with these pets as they age to reassure them that aging is natural and to help them with physical and emotional comfort-care through the process. The shift from care-taking their human to accepting care is a process for them. I’ve found these animals can make that shift and joyfully accept aging when the process is a shared journey with their human.
Communicating with your pet through their years of aging and understanding how best to support them will keep you and your pet emotionally healthy and prepared for the inevitable shifts and changes in their senior years. Whether our pets joyfully enter their elder years or kick and scream a bit, what a beautiful gift to share this time with them supporting them and creating lovely memories.