There are 41.4 million people who were 65 and older in the United States on July 1, 2011, up from 40.3 million on April 1, 2010 (Census Day). In 2011, this group accounted for 13.3 percent of the total population. This number is expected to double by 2060. There were 3.6 million seniors in poverty in 2011. $33,118 is the 2011 median income of households with householders 65 and older.
Source: Population estimates <http://www.census.gov/popest/data/national/asrh/2011/index.html
This month is Senior Pet month. Appropriately, I did an interview with Carie Broecker, co-founder of Peace of Mind Dog Rescue in Pacific Grove, CA. POMDR has a dual mission, to serve senior citizens and senior pets. Carie has been a rock star, always there with a kind word, kind heart and resources for me with Cici so it is a pleasure for me to highlight her work. Her mission is important. I think there needs to be more senior animal rescues across the nation. I first met Carie back in 2003, in another incarnation. We stayed in touch and when I came back to this community in 2010, she was still here, the rest of the people I had known had moved on to other states or had passed on.
About Carie Broecker
She served on the Board of Directors for Animal Friends for 12 years. Carie and her husband Scott, also publish a quarterly magazine Canine Coastal magazine.
The idea for POMDR began in Oct 2009.
“I was taking care of a dog named Savannah, as a foster dog. Her owner was a senior lady named Alice who had emphysema for 5 years. Her doctors told Alice that she should start getting her affairs in order. She was real sick in hospice and concerned about her dog. She was considering having her put down,” Carie said. “I told her that I would take care of the dog.” Carie eventually adopted Savvy as her own. She has several 11-15 year old dogs of her own to care for besides the 65+ dogs (average number) that come through POMDR.
POMDR was born, with the assistance of Monica Rua, the co- founder. POMDR are now approaching their 500th rescue. This year, they had a grand opening of the Patricia J. Bauer Center in Pacific Grove. The house was generously donated to POMDR by Patricia J. Bauer in September, 2011 and serves as headquarters for the dog rescue group. There is also an adoption center in the front room for potential adopters to come meet dogs for adoption.
POMDR was able to help Ms. Bauer care for her beloved dogs, Mattie and Morgan, in the last three months of her life. POMDR Helping Paw volunteers walked Mattie and Morgan every day for three months as well as fed them, brushed them, and took them to vet and grooming appointments.
What makes a senior dog, a senior (is it age, weight, breed, size, other factors?)
Generally, a dog is considered a senior by age 7-10. The larger breeds have a shorter lifespan than smaller dogs. The quality of food, exercise and genetics play a part in aging dogs and humans.
Factors to consider when adopting a senior dog
On average, 40-60 year olds tend to want senior dogs, rather than other age groups. They usually have lost a dog and want to help another dog. They want a mature dog, housebroken, mellow, if the dogs need a lot of extra care, they might be up for taking care of it, too.
Younger people usually want mobile dogs, dogs they can take hiking with them. Depends upon a person’s lifestyle. The more active a person is, the more active the dog they want to go along with them.
How does POMDR find senior dogs that need new homes or are up for adoption?
Shelters in Monterey county, Salinas and Santa Cruz, San Benito contact POMDR, almost daily. Famly of seniors who are dying contact POMDR.
POMDR cannot take owner surrender dogs, unless there are exceptional circumstances. They get calls from all over the state and country. There is quite a bit of demand for homes.
If/when POMDR cannot take the dogs, they try to give resources of where and how to find homes for the dogs.
Do most dogs get cranky as they age (like humans)?
Good question because personality is important. Some dogs who are in pain may snap. Others are really mellow. It just depends. If a dog was cranky when they were young, they are probably going to be that way as they age, too, same as their owners.
Dogs that stand out… memorable dogs
Fox and Lucy, two chow mixes, were living in a shed. It was a horrible situation. The owner had died, and the caretaker did not take care of the dogs properly. When selling the property, the real estate person found the dogs and called POMDR. POMDR got them both healthy and adopted together into the same home.
Zippy, a greyhound mix, is sweet friendly, untrained, jumped fences, counter surfer, lovable. He was just adopted a week ago. He is 10 years old.
POMDR has a cadre of volunteers who assist with events, taking seniors and their senior dogs to the vet, daily care, fostering and dog training.
Volunteer trainers include those from From the Heart, Canine Spirit, and co-founder of POMDR Monica Rua
Do dogs pick us as parents?
Sometimes they do, that happens a lot with fosters. The pet knows this is their home forever but it can take a little while for the parent to know that, too.
Are the best dogs senior dogs? if so, why?
The best dogs are, they are all great, if you want a dog to go hiking with, you want a younger dog. It all depends upon your lifestyle and energy, both are important to consider when adopting a dog, whether from a shelter or a rescue like POMDR.
Are seniors certain breeds ?
A lot of chis and pit bulls and mixes are in the shelters here in California. They are harder to adopt and then they age and are even more difficult to adopt to homes. People have to be educated. No dog is a bad dog. Different dogs for different folks. Some people love smaller dogs, others love larger dogs. It all depends upon preferences.
Senior dogs care
It is important to consider what will happen to your pet if you become sick and/or die. Have you made plans for your dog?
None of us likes to imagine what our life would be like without our dog, or worse, what our dog’s life would be like without us. It is important to pre-arrange for the future care of your dog, just like you would your children, in case you are no longer able to care for your dog due to accident, illness, or death. Once these arrangements are made, you can have peace of mind that your dog will not end up alone and frightened in an animal shelter if something happens to you.
Unfortunately, thousands of companion animals are euthanized in the United States each year simply because their guardians died or became ill and made no arrangements for the continuous care of their pets. What will happen to your dogs if they outlive you?
500,000 dogs and cats are euthanized each year because their guardian passed away and either did not make arrangements for the future lifetime care of their dog or their wishes were not carried out as planned.
Never assume your friends or family will take care of your dog in the event of your death. The guardianship of your beloved dog is something that should be planned for in advance. The best way to know that your dog will be cared for in the event of your death is to consult with your attorney and have your wishes put into your will or estate plan and to create a pet trust.
More info to consider