Bark and Purrtect

Animal Welfare, Rescue and Advocacy

Bark and Purrtect
Life Lessons from Adopt a Senior Pet Month

By: Paris Permenter & John Bigley

Through the years, we’ve shared our home with many senior pets, and each has imparted precious lessons to us. Hershey, our Newfoundland mix, once taught us that, even when you’re a 14-year-old dog, you can still enjoy your first real snowfall like a puppy. Yoda, as small and wise as the character for which he was named, showed us that, even in the face of chemotherapy and a trail of 15 years of history, you never give up the chance to enjoy a treat. And today our Linus demonstrates to us that 12-year-old cats can be top dogs, even in a household with two 70-pound canines.

November marks Adopt a Senior Pet Month, a time to focus attention on the many senior pets that fill shelters everywhere. Often the last pets to be adopted, senior pets find themselves homeless for numerous reasons. Owners, through death or a change in living situation such as admission to a nursing home, may no longer be able to care for an aging pet. Or older pets may have been surrendered because owners grew tired of their pets or decided they once again wanted a puppy or kitten.

Reasons to Consider Pet Adoption

1. However they arrived at the shelter, most senior pets have one thing in common: they previously lived with a family and would like to once again.

2. Their experience with family living makes senior pets easy to integrate into a new home, just one of the many reasons to adopt a senior pet. Other advantages include:

3. Predictability. Unlike the puppy that might grow to any size, the senior dog is what he is, both in terms of physical traits and behavior. It’s easy to meet a senior pet and know if he’ll be a good match for your lifestyle.

4. Relaxed disposition. Most senior pets, like senior people, are happy to take life just a little bit slower than their younger counterparts. They’ve also been through those difficult times that try even the most devoted pet lover, from chewing to adolescent stubbornness. They’ve mellowed into an animal that’s happy to do what they do best: be a buddy.

5. Previous training. Thanks to their prior families, many senior pets come with some degree of training.

6. Savings. During November, many shelters offer special rates for adopting adult pets.

Please consider a senior dog or cat for your next adoption. Their wealth of experience has prepared them to be perfect pets, and they'd love to share their life lessons with you.

Image: Rocky Mountain Feline Rescue/ via Flickr is North America’s largest non-profit pet adoption web service. We help homeless pets at more than 13,600 animal shelters and rescues connect with the millions of potential adopters visit our website each month. To date, we’ve facilitated hundreds of thousands of lasting connections between great people and loving animals.

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