Old And Treasured

No one can defy the law of nature. Our health will decline as we age and we hope there will be a loved one who will care for us.

Sadly, animals at adoption centres are pigeonholed as 'unwanted' once they reach a certain age or suffer from a long-term illness. Prospective adopters often get cold feet when they think about the future medical expenses, the extra time and effort involved in taking care of a senior animal. But not the owners of Lee Loy (Collie) and Thuli (a domestic short-haired cat), who adopted them when they were 11 and 6 years old respectively. Let's hear why the two adopters were so determined to bring senior animals into their lives.


Lee Loy and Daddy Mr Law

 

Lee Loy's Story

Lee Loy and two other Collies were abandoned in a hallway of a building and was rescued by an SPCA inspector two years ago. Lee Loy's limbs were so weak that he had to be carried out of the building in the arms of our inspector. Adding to his immobility was his chronic skin allergy and ear infection. After five months of treatment, he gradually recovered and started to look for a forever home at the SPCA where he met his daddy Mr Law.


Daddy's Words

My wife and I fell in love with Lee Loy at first sight! We were once parents of a tricolour Collie, who passed away in December 2020 and we still miss him every day.

From our experience, Collies are exceptionally loyal, obedient and quiet, and we never got any complaints from our neighbours. We have become so fond of Collies ever since we got our first.

Prior to Lee Loy, we already had the experience in taking care of sick dogs as we had helped my wife's family to care for their two adult dogs suffering from heart disease.

On the day we met Lee Loy, a homing assistant at the SPCA told us his story and explained his medical condition to us. Listening to all that, we both had this immediate compassion towards Lee Loy and wanted to take care of him for the rest of his life.

Although we could not alter his tragic past, we could at least bring love and joy into his twilight years.

We knew that the health of senior animals could decline rapidly any time. My wife and I were mentally prepared for the worst. All we wanted to do was to give Lee Loy the love and happiness that he deserved in his remaining years.

To our delight, he instantly adapted to his new life with us but is still struggling with various health issues, such as inflamed ears, swollen limbs and allergic skin. All these conditions required monthly visits to the vet for treatment.

For most dogs, taking a walk in a park is the most joyful time of the day. As we wanted Lee Loy to have the fun other dogs were having, we regularly stretched his legs and did exercise with him in order to strengthen his limbs and increase his mobility. We are so proud of every little improvement he has made along the way. He can now walk for at least 30 minutes to an hour. We have even thought about signing him up for a one-day tour.

We understand it is more tempting to adopt young healthy animals as they can stay with their owners for a longer period of time. It is also less costly and demanding to take care of them. Life might be easier with a healthy animal.

However, we never regret adopting Lee Loy, a senior dog who can't even walk normally. We are grateful to him for all the joy and challenges he has brought into our lives. Our lives would not be this colourful without Lee Loy.

If you are considering adopting or already are an owner of a senior animal, the time you get to spend with them might be short, but remember it is very meaningful.



Thuli and Mommy Gwen

 

Thuli's Story

Six-year old Thuli weighed no more than 2kg when she was rescued by the SPCA's inspectors in October 2020. Neglected by her former owner, Thuli was also diagnosed with chronic gastrointestinal disease and various dental problems that required frequent visits to the vet and long-term medication. Even though her health had been on a roller coaster ride, fortunately she managed to stand strong and eventually met her mommy Gwen at the SPCA.


Mommy's Words

I grew up with cats in my household. Cats have always been in my life since I was a child. Seven years ago, I adopted a kitten from the SPCA. At that time, I was so inspired by stories shared on social media telling how animal shelters transformed the lives of senior animals and animals with disabilities. I told myself if I ever was to adopt another cat, it must be an adult or a senior cat so that I could make a difference to their lives, too.

Last winter, I met a cat with only three legs at the SPCA. I thought it was 'the one', but then I found out that another family had got the approval to adopt it already. I then asked the homing assistant to introduce to me the longest-staying cat at the centre. This was how I met Thuli. Actually, I had met her before during my previous visits at the SPCA but she was hiding herself under the blanket so nobody had noticed her.

No wonder she was the longest-stayer.

But it was so different this time. As soon as the homing assistant opened Thuli's room, she slowly came out of the room and rubbed her head against the back of my hand. She kept purring as if she was telling me I was the chosen one and not the other way around.

I renamed her Thuli which means peace in South Africa. Peace is what I always want for her, a cat rescued from abuse background and is always fighting for her health.

Shortly after she went home with me, she was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease and her eyes were always irritated and watery. Taking her to the vet has become our regular routine.

I would be lying if I told you taking care of Thuli was as easy as falling off a log. In fact, she constantly proves herself a 'mission impossible' by refusing to swallow the pill that I know would help her get better. She is so very reluctant when I try to clean her eyes and trim her nails. But she would give me a head bump and rub her face against mine to make me feel less defeated.

I am worried about her every day. What if I have to travel again? Can my friend take care of her the way I do? There is no one on earth who understands her needs better than I do.

When I took Thuli home, I promised her that I would feed her well and make her chubby. She weighs about 2.5 kg now and I am proud to say I am half-way through to fulfil my promise as I still think she should gain some more weight!

Taking care of an animal with unstable health is a tough row to hoe, but the sense of accomplishment has been a great motivation pushing me to love and give more. Thuli has taught me what true love is – the greatest virtue of all.

In the days to come, I will continue to give her nutritious food and keep her in good shape. Cute and energetic kittens easily stand out from the crowd, but I still think adopting an adult cat, a senior cat or even a cat with chronic illness can enrich your life that nothing else can do.

 

Caring for senior animals or animals with chronic diseases requires extra money, time and patience. However, Gwen and Mr Law went against the tide and made the harder call and walk with their senior companions through thick and thin.

And the rewards are beyond words can describe.