Social Security was designed to collect income from employed workers in order to pay retired workers a continuing income after retirement.  Shouldn’t our beloved pets get the same?  They should.  Their social security deposits just look a little different than a withdrawal from a paycheck.

Pets make deposits in loyalty, companionship and love.  They ask little from us, but give us way more than we deserve.  They don’t complain – they get up and face the day as it comes.  They are forward thinking even when we dwell on the past.  They make us smile.  They stand by us.  They celebrate with us and they cry with us.  They earn the right to be secure in our society even if there isn’t a specific program for them.

The most heartbreaking demographic of pets in the shelter system are senior pets.  They have spent their lives being part of a family, making their social security deposits of love and faithfulness, but now, at a time of their lives, when they should be cozying up in a warm bed with their beloved humans, they are laying on a cold concrete floor that makes their bones hurt. They are facing danger as overwhelmed shelters have to make decisions regarding their fate in order to free up space for the revolving door of new intakes – pets who are younger and more adoptable.

Teensy before

Teensy after

If you are wondering who can do this to a senior pet – who can take them to a shelter as their face is graying and eyes are bluing – there are many people who can do this.  Some do it with relief.  Some do it with overwhelming sadness.

Many senior pets are in the shelter because their elderly owners passed away or move to assisted living where pets aren’t allowed.  While the owner cherished their pet, their family doesn’t feel the same way.

Financial hardship is another frequent cause of senior pets being taken to the shelter – the pet has health issues but the family can’t afford veterinary care.  Unfortunately, in these cases, the surrendering family doesn’t inform the shelter about the health issues because they fear they animal will be euthanized.  If the pet actually makes it out of the shelter and gets adopted, the new owner has to figure it all out instead of being prepared for providing the pet the medical care he or she needs – generally, these pet end up right back at the shelter.

The saddest reason people bring senior pets to the shelter is that they don’t have the money to euthanize them – their veterinarian says it is time to say goodbye but they don’t have the money to pay the bill.  They instead bring them to the shelter believing that the shelter will euthanize them for free.  What they don’t realize, however, is that their beloved pet at the time they are most vulnerable will be made available for adoption and may languish in the shelter environment for days, weeks or months before any decisions are made about them.

Is your heart touched by the vulnerability of with senior pets?  Do you want to give them their earned social security benefits? Here is how you can help: