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Anna Schultz / Her Campus

When Our Pets Grow Old

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

If you’re anything like me, you’ve seen those bittersweet videos of people showing their pets’ end-of-life photographs. You can see the love between the pets and their owners in the videos, and it really is an emotional thing to witness. It’s hard not to immediately think of your own pet and their mortality. I often think of how my sweet dog is growing older by the day, and it’s an extremely hard idea to come to terms with, that one day our beloved animals will no longer be by our sides.

I’ve had my dog, Julep since she was a puppy. My family adopted her from a rescue program and she was the runt of the litter. We immediately bonded with her and decided she was the one. Since that day, she has been an integral part of our family for the last thirteen years. She has been with me since kindergarten up until my first day of moving away to college. It’s hard to come to terms with the fact she won’t be with me forever. I’m sure many other people with pets know the feeling as well.

As the days go on, our pets grow old. Their faces turn grey, their fur becomes coarse, and their little paw pads grow rough. Sometimes they can no longer see or hear or walk as well as they used to. They might need a little help jumping onto the couch or getting into bed. It’s a hard thing to witness, but we should love them just the same. Our sweet pets don’t even notice they’re growing older, they’re just happy to still be with us. As humans, we live with the sorrow of knowing one day they’ll simply be a memory from our lives.

In spite of this, we still give love to them even in their senior years. We give them extra treats and let them sleep sprawled in our beds. We cuddle on the couch and give them lots of love. They grow older, but our love for them does not. When they age, our love is just as strong as it was the first day they entered your life. Their senior years might be hard to cope with as owners but they’ll forever be our “babies” no matter what age they are.

So, what to do when they begin to show the signs? It can be difficult to understand and some may even refuse to acknowledge their pets are getting older. They live much shorter lives than us, yet we never really understand that until they reach their final years. All we can do is be there for them and love them as they love us. The love of a pet is unconditional and they’re family just as much as another human would be. Giving them extra comfort and support, although emotionally difficult, is the best thing to do for our furry family members. We should always treat them with the utmost care and love, but it’s important in their senior years. Although the concept of time is unknown to them, they can surely feel themselves growing older in their senses and joints.

Dealing with an aging pet is one of the hardest things to go through as an owner. Whether it’s a dog, a cat, reptile, ferret, etc, we bond with and love our animals unconditionally. Their lives are shorter, but the time spent with us is precious and irreplaceable. When the time comes to say goodbye, our animals will know we loved them just as much as they loved us.

Abigail Smith

Winthrop '24

Howdy! My name's Abigail, but you can call me Abby. I'm a Sophomore at Winthrop University, majoring in Elementary Education. I love hiking, history, animals, video games, reading, and of course writing!
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