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Whose quality of life is it anyway?

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Pets are the center of our lives. We find the best food, the most interesting clothing or collars and leashes; most of all we seem at times to live for them. Perhaps this is because they always seem to live for us. So what happens when they get old?
When you have a working pet, they live for that work. It is what makes their live worthwhile for them. Anyone who has retired without plans for what comes next will tell you had hard this transition is. Our pets feel the same. Having a service animal is one of the most rewarding activities a person can have, and if that pet is a service animal for others, well it is an experience which is beyond description.
When a service animal retires due to old age or a disability of their own; life just seems to knock the breath out of them. They wait by the door to go with us; they get the vest to show they are ready; they give that expectant look which says ‘this time?’ What can we do?
Taking them half the time or asking them to work a quarter of the time may be out of the question. However, can we redirect the training? Can we take a retired police dog and have that dog work at a Boys and Girls Club to show what care and compassion is? Can we have a retired emotional support or therapy animal, be a part of the Reading Program at the Library or School for children learning to read? Or can we take this sweet animal to an assisted living and allow the pet to wonder through the halls picking its own people to visit twice a week for a few hours? Whose quality of life is being improved?

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