Age Has Advantages: The Joy of Adopting a Senior Pet
It’s sad but true: Adult and senior animals languish in shelter cages, some never leaving, as they watch kittens and puppies scamper off to new homes. And in shelters that euthanize, older dogs and cats are the first to die.
Many senior pets are left homeless when their people die or become incapacitated without a plan for their continued care. Others are kicked to the curb, some after years in the same home, just because they're old.
Yet older dogs and cats—serene, wise and devoted—can add a special dimension to our lives if we just give them the chance.
A DOZEN WAYS YOU BENEFIT FROM ADOPTING A SENIOR PET
Along with the unequaled joy of knowing you've truly saved a life, there are plenty of reasons adopting older animals trumps bringing home a puppy or kitten. Here are twelve.
1) Some shelters and rescue groups offer financial incentives for adopting a senior, from reduced adoption fees to deep discounts on veterinary care.
2) A well-cared for indoor cat can live 20 years, sometimes more. If you don’t know where life is going to take you two decades from now, make a shorter-term commitment by adopting a senior. Marie Mazzeo, Founder/Director, Kitty Connection, Medford, MA
3) Many cats become more affectionate as they age. Want to snuggle? Adopt a senior! Gayle Fitzpatrick, Founder/Director, Friends of the Plymouth Pound, Plymouth, MA
Cuddling dad is 15-year-old Oliver's favorite pastime. Photo: MaryAnne Polich
4) Older dogs are easier to train; many already know basic commands. Kristan McCormick, Adoption Manager, Kent Animal Shelter, Calverton, NY
5) Senior cats still enjoy play,but they’renot whirling dervishes like mischievous kittens, who’ll shred your curtains and send your china flying off the table. Mature pets are great pals for people of all ages! MaryAnne Polich, Volunteer, The Rescue House, Encinitas, CA
Suddenly homeless at 14, Irish became the adored companion of someone who saw past her age. Photo: Paws of Plainville
6) An older cat has nothing more to prove. If you have a multiple cat household, it's unlikely the senior will want to "rumble"with your other cats. He much prefers snuggle time and taking long cat naps. Chris Weiner, Founder, Companion Animals in Retirement, Sherborn, MA
7) A senior dog is less likely to dart out the door and chase the letter carrier down the street. Cheryl Major, Volunteer and Board Member, Buddy Dog Humane Society, Sudbury, MA
8) Older cats have mastered the art of "good manners." Your senior cat already knows the ropes of using a scratching post, keeping his claws to himself and loving humans. Angela Townsend, Development Director, Tabby’s Place, Ringoes, NJ
Coco, 10, and Billy, 14, don't ask for much from their new family, Ann and Kylie--just a little play and a lot of love. Photo: Peace of Mind Dog Rescue
9) If running a marathon isn’t on your to-do list, a senior is for you. Older dogs are happy withshort walks and a soft bed. Carie Broecker, President, Peace of Mind Dog Rescue, Pacific Grove, CA
10) An older animal's personality--and size--are already developed. There are no surprises: Who you see is who you get. It's also true that animals of all ages give what they get. Love and accept them for who they are, and they'll return the love tenfold.
11) Older dogs usually settle into a new home quickly. They're grateful to be safe and loved.
12) Adults and seniors are already housebroken and litterbox trained.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR FAVORITE SENIOR PET!
We'd like to honor the senior dog or cat who stole your heart. Send a short tribute, with embedded photos if you'd like, to CPRPets@aol.com. We'll publish it to let the world know: Seniors are spectacular! And so are you for giving them a loving home.
Copyright 2014 Coalition to Protect and Rescue Pets. All Rights Reserved.