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Saturday, October 20, 2007

Never Be Lonely Again!!

Are you lonely??

Many of us will find that we are lonely sometime during our lifetime. Depending upon the circumstances, you can even feel lonely in a crowded room.
Towards the end of life, many people find themselves in a difficult situation. A spouse dies, the children are grown up and gone, and the golden years ahead appear not golden at all, but a long expanse of loneliness, to be faced with declining health, and sometimes declining finances. Add to all of that, life long friends are dying or in poor health, making things even more difficult.

So what is a solution to loneliness? One can stay active with social clubs, church and other people orientated organizations, that depending upon health and ability to drive and get around, provide a good way to stay in touch with other people and make new friends. However, many of the elderly find that they cannot get out and get involved like they once did. What is the solution to loneliness then??

The simple and common sense answer to that is a PET! A dog or cat, or maybe even a guinea pig!

A dog is usually the first choice in the battle against loneliness, but not always the only choice. It depends upon the ability to care for the animal. It is best to choose a smaller, more calm breed, that is easy to care for. All dogs make wonderful companions, and that includes a mixed breed commonly known as a mutt! And, instead of going to a pet store for a puppy, consider getting a dog from a local shelter that is already house trained. Puppies are cute and wonderful, but they can often present challenges that an older person would be best to avoid. We have adopted many wonderful dogs from the local shelters, they are healthy, often spaded and neutered, and make wonderful companions. Just make sure you have a little extra put aside for vet bills. Dogs should go to the vet at least once a year for a check up and shots.
The next choice for a companion animal is a cat! Cats make wonderful pets. They can be just as loving as a dog. Most cats do well with elderly people. They are also a bit easier to care for than a dog, however a cat box will need to be cleaned out often. It is not something that you can let go. Failure to keep a clean cat box may result in your cat doing its job in some other area. Think about it really the cat’s fault? Cats need to see a vet every year for a check up and shots. It is a good idea to adopt a cat from a local shelter, as a vet has checked to make sure it is healthy. Cats can carry a lot of diseases, so you want to think twice about where you get your cat. Of course, living on a farm, we had a lot of stray cats that city people would drop off. Sometimes, a stray cat chooses you as their new owner. We had many wonderful stray cats that became a part of our family. The trick here is to get that cat to a vet right away for a check up. Cats are susceptible to many diseases, however most are easily treated if caught early.

Another wonderful pet is a guinea pig. At one point I was alone for a period of two years. I lived deep in a pine forest with a dirt road the only way out. It was an isolated and remote place where it would be very easy to feel alone, and maybe even a bit afraid. Enter Miss Molly, my faithful guinea pig!

Miss Molly kept me company, it was wonderful to hear her drink from her water bottle at night. In the morning she would wake me up, begging for a leaf of lettuce. At night we would watch TV together, she would turn and lay her little head on my chest and gurgle with contentment. She made me feel not alone, and unafraid! She was such a little sweetheart, and I miss her.

There is just one problem with a guinea pig and that is their rather short lifespan. Most live to about 31/2 years, although I did have a guinea pig that lived two years longer than that. Other than that, there are very few drawbacks to having a guinea pig for a pet. You can even have several if you wish as they are very sociable animals. A guinea pig does not need much. I use a see through plastic tote box, the biggest I can find, for their home. Guinea pigs need to be cleaned out twice a week, and more often if there are multiple animals. They do not have to go to the vet, unless they become ill for some reason. That is usually not very often as they are very hardy little animals. I tell may elderly people to try out a guinea pig as a pet, and so far it has worked out in a very wonderful way! It is wonderful to see the look of delight as they discuss the antics of their guinea pig.

All in all, loneliness is nothing more than a feeling of being alone and unloved. God in his great wisdom gave us these wonderful animals that we can enjoy at any stage of our lives. I see pets as bundles of love, and I know that people love their pets as much as they love other people, and in some cases maybe even more!
You don’t have to be lonely, it is your choice. Go and visit an animal shelter in your area today and feel the magic! It is there, waiting for you......

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