My cat is 14. In cat years, that is 98. She is pretty spry for an old lady, though, and still brings me gifts like dead mice on the doorstep every now and again. She has endless patience with our puppy, tolerating his games and antics with a look of disdain and sometimes a swipe of her paw across his face.
Older pets teach us about loyalty and gratitude. Yes, even cats are grateful. I know, they have a lot of catitude and spite for their humans, but at the end of the day, when Jenny comes to sit on my keyboard, I know it's her way of saying "thank you" for sharing my home with her for the past 14 years.
When our beloved dog, Jack, was in the last year of his life, I would take him out at all hours of the night. His little whine beside my bed got me up, and I would stagger out with him, in pouring rain, or wind, or freezing snow. He had given me his loyalty, kindness, and gratitude for his whole life and this was the least I could do for him, to allow him the dignity of a midnight walk.
Our older pets teach us responsibility, and they teach us how important it is to love one another, unconditionally.
And they teach us the value of family, because they are family.