As Jilly Cooper, 84, says she plans to adopt a rescue pup… Is it selfish to get a new dog in your 80s?
By Kate Spicer
After the death of her dearly loved greyhound, Bluebell, 84-year-old Jilly Cooper revealed last week that she is planning on getting a new dog once she has finished her latest novel.
While there will surely be a chorus of disapprovers thinking, ‘A new dog? At her age?’ you will not find me among their number.
Three cheers for Jilly Cooper, more like. A lifetime of owning dogs means she knows exactly what is required to give a dog a good home and whether she is able to provide that.
As Jilly Cooper, 84, (图为) reveals plans to get a new dog, Kate Spicer and Liz Hodgkinson debate if it is selfish to get a pet in later life
“我认为我从小就被培养成有精神力量, who are in their 70s, often say that their current dogs will be their last, which sends me into sad panic for a number of reasons.
Chiefly because I can only imagine how it will feel, like living in God’s waiting room without having the loyal species which has accompanied them both throughout life. I know others will disagree, but as long as my parents are fit and vital, I will not be discouraging them from getting another dog in their 80s.
I have an agreement with Mum that should she die before her dog, I will take the dog in. My sister has a similar agreement with Dad. My aunt, in her late 80s, walks her Labrador every day in the forest near her home. When she was convalescing after a knee operation, my cousin stepped in for dog walking duties.
Kate Spicer (图为) claims being old should not mean living without a beloved gentle sidekick who also keeps you fit
Being old should not mean living without a beloved gentle sidekick who also keeps you fit, gets you out in the fresh air and provides a reassuring, loving presence.
加, nothing beats the wonder that is warm silky ears to stroke when you feel alone. Jilly Cooper may choose to adopt another retired greyhound, which is to say a dog in middle-age with its zoomy years behind it. Sedately, they can age together. It makes sense to me.
Yet many rescue centres will not allow people over a certain age to adopt. When the Wild At Heart Foundation partnered a dog with a dynamic and healthy 70-year-old, the keyboard warriors went berserk, as if it had been sent to a serial killer.
Founder Nikki Tibbles said: ‘We could not have found her a more loving and caring home.’
There are estimated to be up to 600 million stray dogs worldwide. 在英国, you can add an extra 40,000 unwanted lockdown dogs to the 130,000 already in shelters.
Fretting about a fit octogenarian adopting one of these animals displays a depressing small-minded antagonism that is helping no one, least of all the poor animals.
通过 丽兹 Hodgkinson
Dogs are often recommended as ideal companions for lonely elderly people, especially if they no longer have a human partner in their life.
But when Jilly Cooper announced her intention of adopting another dog, 我想, '没有, you are simply too old to take on the care and attention that a new and possibly boisterous dog will require.’
Liz Hodgkinson (图为) claims ageing owners may not be in a position to give dogs the exercise they need
刚刚, two of my friends, lifelong dog lovers, made the sad but sensible decision not to replace their own rescue greyhound when he died. They were in their late 80s and although they found it almost impossible to imagine life without a dog, they were worried that a new one might easily outlive them, and have to be rehomed all over again.
Although elderly, they are perfectly fit and healthy and still able to go on long walks. They made what was, 为他们, an agonising decision without outside interference. They had never before been without a dog.
It is true that in many ways, retired greyhounds make ideal pets for older people as they are generally docile and low maintenance, but they still need a good hour of exercise each day, 哪一个, with increasing age and infirmity, the owner might not be in a position to give.
Rescue dogs, the kind favoured by Jilly and many animal lovers, are often timid and traumatised, and require more patience than a pooch bought as a puppy. They might have suffered in their youth and as such, remain wary of humans. Greyhounds in particular, rarely bred to be pets, can have chronic anxiety in even the most loving, dog-friendly home.
I don’t have a dog as this would not be fair either on the dog or myself, as I live in a fourth-floor flat. When my partner died 18 几年前, friends advised me to get one, but I felt my life was too unsettled and liable to change to have a pet. I knew I would also be so upset when a dog I had come to love died, and wasn’t sure I would be able to cope with the loss.
My son Tom and his family, 然而, have a huge black Labrador. This means I know something about the pleasures — and pains — that dog ownership brings.
Even though they are all young and fit, they don’t always have as much energy as their dog and can find it difficult to take him for all the walks he demands.
是, dogs are family, and it is truly heartbreaking when they die. But it is equally heartbreaking for your dog if you die. So I would say, 请, for the dog’s sake, don’t get another one when you are halfway through your ninth decade.