My lovely mouser, Prince Meadowlark, who has been with me for sixteen years, recently reminded me of aging’s toll on the four-leggeds of the world. I’m used to thinking about the human experience of aging, ageism, and vulnerability, but his current challenges with sight and mobility remind me that animals too experience the erosion of strength and sensory acuity that leads to feelings of helplessness. Animals, however, require our expanded sensitivity to their well being and suffering. Beyond a plaintive meow, this wonderful companion cannot describe his fears, his heartaches, his frustrations over the circumstances robbing him of agency, and so, as his designated person, it is on me to interpret his needs, to meet these as best I can, and to comfort him when his experiences prove frustrating.
Continue reading Building Bridges Through Loss: Three/Aging, Vulnerability, and Activism