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Do I really want a pet?

Updated on June 24, 2015

Am I bogged down in the 'everyday is the same'? Why get up?

What role do pets play in our life after age 60? Well for some it is the same as our first 60 years, for others pets take away the independence of a lifestyle without the kids at home and retirement just emerging on the horizon. Both guides are certainly true in many cases, however we are talking about a slightly different role. We are talking about our health.

Pets have a big impact on our health after 60. Not only do they keep us moving which is of great value, to our blood pressure not to mention our weight, but they also give us a reason for getting out of bed. There is a medical case study which culminates in we can die of a broken heart. Around the age of sixty we begin to evaluate our productivity in life. We look at how happy we are with the life we have lived, did we want to do more for other people, what happened to those lofty goals we had at graduation, when the kids came along did we still work toward our dreams or did we say some day.

Now the kids have left home or will be in the next couple of years, we are allowing ourselves some freedom. Do we feel comfortable to take up those goals (of yesterday) and run with them or do we feel they are not of the importance we originally placed on them. Has another goal been immerging that we are more eager to attain? Can we see ourselves actually accomplishing this or is it another pipe dream. Has our health taken a hit, during the last thirty years and now we must structure our life around a specific medical issue? And of course we are beginning to see our generation of friends, not to mention our parent’s generation of relatives becoming more and more confined due to health reasons.

Now is when many of us find the marriage that was going to last lifetime is just not working. There are so many reasons why we are more easily falling into clinical depression. This is a real illness and we must treat it as such. See a medical profession and begin treatment. Another treatment we can do for ourselves is to get a pet and become very active in it’s life. Medical research has found a decrease in blood pressure, a moderate weight loss along with several other positive physical changes in our health, while emotionally we have a reason to get out of bed, off the couch and a new network of friends. This is true of any pet we may get; however lets talk about getting a dog, and let’s not jump into this if our life experience has been one of no pets.

Dog’s are social creatures and enjoy company. Every dog must be trained to meet the perimeters of our lifestyle. We are already building on our network of friends as we have our pet checked out by a veterinarian and then sign up for a few obedience classes. We can see the physical exercise already having an impact on our life. And we can see that as we work with our dog there are new people around us also working with their pets. Emotionally, we now have a physical being that we can talk to about anything and if we are still harboring some difficult feelings about a relationship we can express those. When we are lonesome we can hold our pet and tell them anything. They will never let what they have been told slip passed their lips.

We can now see how we are getting exercise and building our body back to a healthy body. We can also see some of the emotional positive structure we are building on. This seems like a win-win for all concerned. Now we need to pay attention to our body like we have never before. Our body will give us signs and cues if there is a problem sneaking up on us and we must take better care of our body because we are meeting new people and our dog is making sure we get the exercise necessary to build back our healthy body.

Have there ever been times when we walked into a business and there was a pet present? This is happening more and more often. Do you know why? It has been brought to light that a pet in the work place fosters a better environment. Another reason for getting a pet, so many of us are now starting our own business because there seems to be no work for us. We have developed great ideas, quality items, met the new prospective clients and more for another’s business, now it is our time.

We have brought ourselves back to being productive, healthy and ready for our second (or fourth or fifth) career, we know what is needed and how to achieve our goals. All of this is ‘thanks’ to a pet we never even thought we needed.

Next week: One thing that may stop us cold in setting out is our new life is the concept of closure. What is it and how to we attain it?

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      Marsha Caldwell 23 months ago from Western Washington State

      The elderly and shut-in group sometimes find having a pet the best way to have the company they need. However, should the person require the services of an assisted living or nursing home, the pet can seem an issue. With the current changes taking place in home care I believe that the pet issue with go away with the changing tide. What will be coming up is what happens to the pet after the death of the person. I foresee a new law issue coming up, including the last 'will' having a placement for the pet. This possibly to include having the home remain in an executor's care for the lifetime of the pet.

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