Adopt a Senior Pet

Nov 5, 2016

I may have a little gray on the outside, but inside I'm young at heart!
Credit Nick29m [Flickr]

Senior pets in animal shelters have a tough time finding homes.  Just being in a shelter may be traumatic if they are accustomed to a home and a caring owner.  Consider sharing your home with one of these "experienced" pets!


Earlier this year a friend of mine adopted an elderly dog named Foster. He was accustomed to living in a quiet and comfortable home, but unfortunately his owner passed away. My friend is retired and didn’t want to deal with the lively antics of a young animal, not to mention all the training. Foster seemed like the perfect pet for her. He was calm, easy going, housebroken, and enjoyed having the companionship of a human close by.

A dog or cat is considered a “senior” at around seven years old, which means that for most animals there’s a lot of life and love left in that pet. I can tell you from personal knowledge that having a senior pet around is a great experience. They are more inclined to snuggle and just relax with you. They tend to be calmer and easier to train. They seem to appreciate being given a second chance to be a great pet. They adapt quickly to their new family, especially if you take the time to make them feel welcome and secure. Young playful kittens and puppies usually have a lot of energy, and need more monitoring to keep them out of trouble. Older dogs and cats – not nearly so much. And by the way, you CAN teach an old dog (or cat) new tricks!

Another advantage when adopting a senior pet is that you know what you’re getting. You don’t have to wonder how big that animal will be when it is full-grown – what you see is what you get. Often they are already house-broken, although they may need a little refresher course after spending time in a shelter. But house-training an older animal is made easier by the fact that they are more developed mentally and physically. Their personality is also fully developed, so you can determine right away if it’s compatible with you and your lifestyle.

November is Adopt a Senior Pet Month, a great time to visit your local shelter or rescue group to find a loving dog or cat to share your home and your heart. And because older animals are less likely to be adopted, they are more likely to be euthanized. So when you adopt one, you really are saving a life, when you’re speaking of pets.