Better with Age
By: Judy Hamontre, AVHS Board member & volunteer
One of my most heartwarming pet experiences was my time with Pip, a miniature schnauzer I adopted when she was 13. My friend feels the same about her years with Miranda, a Maine Coon, age 12 when adopted.
Both pets were seniors, and both proved to be lovable, loyal pets who filled our lives with joy.
We were rewarded to know we were providing love to an age group that is often overlooked. Their time at shelters is usually longer, making their risk of euthanasia greater.
For this reason, the ASPCA and petfinder.com established November as “National Adopt a Senior Pet Month.” Their aim was to help improve the perception surrounding senior pets, showing that they are quality candidates for adoption.
Some people believe these senior animals are in shelters because they are aggressive, destructive, or lack social skills. That is not true! Most are there because their owners had a change in their lives necessitating them to make the heart breaking decision to surrender their beloved pets.
Because these pets came from a home lifestyle, adjusting to a new family environment is easier than it is for kittens and puppies. The seniors have experience living with the rules and routines of humans.
These older pets are trained but still willing and able to learn new tricks, explore new worlds, meet new people, and play new games. They continue to “have life!” They just approach it more gently and calmly.
They are content with a more relaxing daily routine. Their mellow nature often makes them a good fit for households with children, as long as the kiddos are taught how to interact with their new furry friends. These more mature pets are also well suited to older adults who desire a quieter life.
Additionally, older animals are less maintenance. Puppies and kittens are a 24-7 commitment requiring time and energy. They are not potty trained, can be destructive, and often cry at night. Teenage dogs and cats require extra patience as they go through their “crazy” phase. A more mature pet has learned manners and settled into life.
Older pets may have some health issues, but existing issues, their management and expense should be made known to you at the time of adoption. Also “known” are size and personality. With a senior, “what you see, is what you get.” With a puppy or kitten, the future is unknown.
Most importantly, these more mature animals will bond with you, love you and allow you to love them. Many stories suggest that senior pets are especially grateful for their new homes. They seem to know they’ve been rescued. In return they fully give their love and devotion.
When you are ready to adopt, please do not overlook these special companion animals who only got better with age. You will save a life and gain love.
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