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Widow Puts Dog's Needs Above Her Own

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Nancy from Washington is grieving over the recent passing of her husband. Sophia, her 8-year-old border collie mix, is grieving, too. Nancy now faces a difficult decision – to relocate to a smaller home with Sophia, or place her with friends.

Sophia has spent her life on a 5-acre ranch. Moving to a smaller home means restricted space for exercise and a less stimulating environment. If Nancy places Sophia with her longtime friends, she will continue to live the ranch life with another dog and two young boys. Nancy is trying to decide what will be best for her beloved dog.

Situations like these are so difficult because, for many of us, we need our dogs as much as they need us. Setting emotion aside for a moment, Sophia’s needs include adequate exercise and daily mental stimulation – critical for bright and active border collies. She probably has four to six years of life left. Nancy needs to be realistic about her own life for the next four years. Will she be able to provide Sophia with the daily activity she needs?

Fortunately, Nancy and Sophia both know the family that’s willing to take in Sophia. The best solution might be to have Sophia spend a few weeks with the new family on a trial basis. If she enjoys the company of their dog, blends in with the family well and continues to take advantage of the stimulation that ranch life provides her, leaving her there permanently might be the ultimate act of kindness and love that Nancy can provide.

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12 years ago

I am always so glad to see articles like these addressing the unexpected choices which can await us when life happens. Whether from an auto accident with family members hospitalized, to catestrophic illness of humans, to unplanned death,~ the humans mae the assumptions of care for their animals that they do not document nor test for reality applications.

When one assumes a relative will step up, but nothing is done to educate that realitive to the special needs of the animal, or verify that the new animal can fit in with the exisiting pet order, to encountering unexpected medical expenses for that animal under anothers care.

When choosing an animal and when thought isnt given to activity needs, one doesnt realize that if the human suddenly becomes unable to provide the exercise because one is now wheelchair bound, or changes in health mean one cannot participate in the lifestyle activitites the young or active animal needs. Consider instead adopting an older or disabled animal with limited mobility prioritites, one who loves to sit and watch the world go by with the beloved human to which they belong.

Consider fostering for a rescue, so should something happen to the human, there is an agency who will step up and take back that animal to replace it into another home until it finds it's forever human.

Thank heavens Nancy was willing to have a back up plan. Animals are property and can be disposed of in such a manner. Please dont let your animal end up at animal control, because you were not willing to make contingency plans for these kinds of situations.


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