How Big of a Role Does Your Family Play in Your Family’s Life?

Caring for senior dogs

Our precious Elfie is gone. Two weeks ago today, we had him put to sleep after a sudden decline in his health. Elfie was a three year old puppy when I adopted him in 2001, and he was healthy almost until the very end. A couple of years ago he went deaf, was no longer able to keep dry dog down. Neither of these things fazed him. His deafness gave him a legitimate reason to challenge me and he finally got canned dog food for every meal.
When I took him to his yearly animal care checkup in October, though, the vet found a tumor in his stomach. Because Elfie was 19 years old, I decided not to put him through the trauma of treatment. But he remained his proud self, alert, friendly, and demanding. On his last Wednesday I brought home some specialty treats from the gourmet pet care store, one of his favorites, but something I rarely did. In hindsight, I am glad I gave him this treat because the following day he woke up a different puppy.
He was listless, did not want to eat much of anything, not canned dog food, not even people food. I decided to make the difficult appointment so as not to prolong his misery. I held Elfie and petted him as the senior dog care specialist administered the shot. Elfie was gone in less than 30 seconds. It breaks my heart, but few dogs have the long and healthy life Elfie did. So in tribute to the puppy I named after my niece’s strange little Elf on the Shelf, I am planning to post 19 photos, one for each year of his life.

The Loss of Older Dogs Is Difficult for Families
Social media posts about pets are common. And while many are adorable photos a small puppy learning to make navigate up or down the stairs, other posts are about the end of life. In all of these posts, however, one thing is very common. Families love their pets. Whether it is a kitty or a puppy, animals can be wonderful companions, to the young, to the old, and to everyone in between.
With all of this in mind, then, it should come as no surprise that many Americans care for their pets as they would a child. The fact that the majority of pets are obtained from family or friends means that families with pets have an entire support system who want to know about the latest antics of the cat or dog. Christmas family photos and letters include photos, and, yes, social media posts are filled with as many pet photos as there as photos of children and grandchildren.
Many families take the extra step and look at the available coverage that is included in pet insurance plans for dogs and cats. Consider some of these facts and figures about American’s and their beloved pets.

  • 76.43 million cats are in America, meaning the U.S. has more felines than any other country.
  • 46.3 million U.S. households have a dog, which translates into 37% to 47% of all households in the country having a dog.
  • Although the majority of pets are obtained from friends and family, 28% of dogs are purchased from breeders, and 29% of cats and dogs are adopted from shelters and rescues.
  • 84% of U.S. cats are spayed or neutered.
  • $20.46 billion is spent on pet food each year in the U.S.
  • $12.56 billion is spent on pet supplies and over-the-counter medicine each year in the U.S.
  • $12.56 billion is spent on pet supplies and over-the-counter medicine each year in the U.S.
  • $13.59 billion is spent on vet care each year in the U.S.

All of these statistics go to show that Americans are very invested in their pets. When a pet is ill or injured, the owner wants to make sure that they are able to make the right decision about the care needed. for some, the decision to purchase pet insurance is the decision that allows them to give their animals the care that they need. If you find yourself petting your dog as it takes its last breath, you want to know that you gave it the best possible care.