Pets Are Family

By Doug Mayberry

May 23, 2016 4 min read

Q: My husband and I retired six months ago. Shortly thereafter, our dog, Charlie, passed. We both miss him terribly and want a new dog.

We only disagree on the timing. My husband wants to delay getting one for six months so we are able travel easier. As I am not feeling well, I am not even certain I can travel.

How best can I convince him that we would both be happier choosing a new pet now?

A: Retirement brings changes that require new compromises and decisions. We are challenged by factors such as having less income, and adjusting to ongoing aging and medical costs.

Pets are family and an important part of our lives. Pets love us unconditionally, help relieve us from stress, protect us, are enthusiastic and keep us in touch with other pet owners.

Choose the timing to get a new dog with the same care and consideration you have given to other decisions in your marriage. It has been successful so far! Whatever date you choose will prove to be the right time.

And if travel proves possible, you can always find another dog lover to take loving care of your new family member while you travel. — Doug

Grandmother Needs You

Q: My grandmother is one wonderful lady. As her loving granddaughter, I hope to help and encourage her to rid herself of most of the stuff she no longer wants or needs in her home. I worry she may take a fall.

How can I convince her to do so?

A: Your family's experience is a common emotional and difficult challenge. As we age, one of our greatest fears is losing our freedom and control over our lives. Asking a loved to give, donate or sell their stuff requires time and patience.

Begin by making a checklist of goods to donate or toss that are acceptable to your grandmother. If this works, continue with lists. Baby steps can prove productive, and your plans should be flexible. Your goal is to maneuver her though a slow process of wanting and cooperating to rid herself of her stuff.

Become a cheerleader for your grandmother as she slowly lets unneeded items go. Help her focus on not having to worry about the care, maintenance or even theft of her household goods. And support her along the way.

View yourself as a team player.

Because of the original cost, many owners believe their possessions are more valuable than they are. What was valuable then may now sell for rock bottom prices. Homes are smaller, employment is shaky, and families are busier than ever. Entertainment is often a barbecue with paper plates, some sodas, and a large trash barrel.

Memories are another powerful force that drive people to keep unneeded items. Consider taking photos for a memory book. If in her will or trust items have been designated for individuals, consider passing them on now. This allows the heirs to enjoy them while she can still see the impact. — Emma, Doug's granddaughter

Doug Mayberry makes the most of life in a Southern California retirement community. Contact him at [email protected] Emma, Doug's granddaughter, helps write this column. To find out more about Doug Mayberry and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists visit the Creators Syndicate website at

Photo credit: Mitchel Jones

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