Laddering Ages Of Pets


Sedona’s family is considering adding a dog to the family. Sedona, meanwhile, is in denial.

That’s what financial experts call the process of purchasing investments with maturity dates from six months to a few years apart. The concept is supposed to trigger a visual of rungs on a ladder, with each investment representing a different rung. “Payoff” from the maturing CDs or bonds provide an income that arrives on a predetermined interval.

Laddering might also be a good name for the concept of always having pets of differing ages.

It’s easy to get caught in the situation we found ourselves in a couple of years ago. All of our pets were so close to the same age that they were destined to leave us at the same time. And, laddering can be a preventive for that situation.

We obtained our cat, Martha, in February of 1994. A few months later along came our two poodles, Peyton and Pearl.

Martha was my constant companion.

At the time we were not thinking a decade and a half into the future. We didn’t foresee the very likely possibility of losing all of them at the same time because they were all the same age. We were too busy enjoying our new arrivals.

Unfortunately, Peyton contracted a liver condition that took him at age 12.

Pearl and Martha continued to thrive until their seventeenth years. However, when laboratory tests showed that they were experiencing age-related kidney disease, our total focus was on them. By then, we couldn’t think about a new pet because we were afraid the stress of dealing with an “intruder” might be a setback for them.

At that time, our pet future didn’t look good. We knew that careful and intense therapy would buy some time for both of them, but, ultimately, renal failure would take them both.

Fortunately, they both survived to age 18.

Unfortunately, we did a lot of grieving in 2011.

We still miss our little Pearly Lou. We always will.

Over 32 years of practice I have observed many clients using the pet-laddering technique successfully, even though the process was never given a name.

For example, Catherine’s owners had Miss Kitty, and later Sara when Catherine was still middle-aged. All three of them got along really well, so, as hard as it was to lose Catherine, Miss Kitty and Sara were there to console them. Continuity of love is a powerful healer.

When Sara’s time came (sadly, succumbing to bone cancer, just as Catherine had), “Little” Catherine was well entrenched in the family, providing needed comfort.

In another family, Tucker’s humans were extremely devoted to him. He was a big, beautiful golden retriever who lived to a terrific old age. He sort of “grew up” with Gracie the cat always around. When Tucker’s and Gracie’s times came, Mickey and Lucy (both kitties) had made themselves at home and prevented the family from having to face the emptiness of no furry family members to love.

I could go on and on, but you get the idea.


Little Catherine was the most adorable puppy! And a great adult, also.

It’s not just for the financial industry anymore.

See you next week, Dr. Randolph.


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  1. This is a very good point. We had 2 Abys pass away within 2 months of each other. It was very difficult, but they had a long life of 15 and 17 years. I don’t want to think about it, but the 2 cats we had now are only a year apart in age. Unfortunately, we may be facing the same problems in years to come. Oh and it’s not only losing the pets at the same time as it is paying for their aging health. The 2 we lost were sick for awhile and we spent quite a bit of money on them. It was worth it, but if someone is planning, they should “ladder” the ages of their pets for this reason as well.

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