It is with a mix of sorrow and pleasure that I reflect for a few moments on the life of Gilbert, a sweet little Beagle who passed away yesterday.
Gilbert lived with Karen, Ruby, Gus, and Fred the cat. He was not always so lucky. Much of Gilbert's life was spent in a wire dog pen suspended off the ground; he was a hunting Beagle who, when he became too old to hunt, was dumped at a shelter.
It was Gilbert's very good luck to end up being adopted by Kathy, who brought him home, provided much needed medical care, comfort, and a level of love and security that Gilbert had never previously known. He repaid her with devotion and a gentle presence that was delightful.
Gilbert learned the fun of playing with treat dispensing toys, sleeping inside on soft beds, having cat and dog friends, children and adults who admired him for his gentle personality. All of this was possible because one person took on the responsibility of adopting a senior dog who wasn't house broken. And because of that one person, Gilbert was given the gift of spending the final year of his life knowing a love and luxury that I think most of us think all dogs should have but that too many do not.
If this example can teach us one thing, it is that we can each make a critical difference if we take a chance on a senior animal in need of a final home where they can live, and die, with the dignity and comfort that they deserve. I wish everyone could know at least once in their life the special bond that can develop when an adopted senior companion is given this chance. The life you change for the better will not just be the life you adopt.