Everyone knows that the only thing better than a new best friend is an old best friend. Therefore, during November’s Adopt a Senior Pet Month, consider adopting an older animal from a local shelter or rescue group.
Each year, an estimated 860,000 cats and 670,000 dogs are euthanized in the nation’s shelters. Many potential pet adopters overlook older animals, thinking that they may be more difficult and unaware there are so many reasons why these seasoned pets make ideal family members and friends:
- They tend to be less rambunctious than younger animals
- They’re often already house-trained
- Because they are calmer and less fragile, they can be a great fit for people with children
- They know you are rescuing them and are so grateful
“It’s heartbreaking to think about all the senior animals who had been cherished pets before they suddenly found themselves frightened and alone in shelters,” said Robin Ganzert, PhD, president and CEO of American Humane. “Far too often this happens to older pets through no fault of their own after their families encounter financial troubles, illnesses, or other upheavals in their lives. By adopting animals like these, you will not only be giving them a second home, you will be giving them a second chance at life.”
Numerous articles and books are available about adopting older animals. A bestselling book, “My Old Dog: Rescued Pets with Remarkable Second Acts,” by TODAY.com writer Laura T. Coffey and photographer Lori Fusaro makes a powerful case in words and pictures why those interested in adding a dog to their families may want to choose a seasoned one with life experience.
“Older dogs who get adopted from shelters and find loving, permanent homes might be the most grateful dogs on the planet,” says Coffey. “It’s a great deal for us, too. When you adopt a dog over the age of about 6 or 7, you get to jump ahead to the very best part! Dogs in this age group tend to be calmer and are already house-trained, so they often make ideal pets for people with busy lives.”
Scores of senior-specific rescue groups and senior-specific adoption efforts at animal shelters are making it easier than ever for people to bring older animals home without breaking the bank. The “My Old Dog” book includes a comprehensive resource guide with contact information for senior dog rescue groups across the United States. Some foster-based groups cover senior cats and dogs’ veterinary bills and prescription food costs for life; others take care of all major veterinary work before putting animals up for adoption. “Seniors for Seniors” programs also are wonderful provisions offered by many shelters and rescue organizations. These programs match mellow older cats and dogs with older people, and they almost always waive adoption fees and cover all initial veterinary and grooming expenses. Many “Seniors for Seniors” programs also provide free welcome-home kits with food bowls, collars, food, medication, pet beds, and more.
“Old friends are often the best friends,” says American Humane’s Dr. Ganzert. “Remember that the next time you want to add a wonderful new cat or dog to your family. You will be glad you did.”
About American Humane
American Humane is the country’s first national humane organization, founded in 1877. To learn more visit at www.americanhumane.org today.