Many older cats and dogs tend to spend more time in shelters waiting for their forever home compared to their younger furry friends.
Most people come to the shelter wanting to adopt puppies, kittens or young adult dogs and cats.
According to the ASPCA, senior dogs, for example, have a 25% adoption rate, compared to the 60% adoption rate of younger dogs and puppies. Potential adopters often look at a senior pet’s age or their wispy looks and assume they are too old to be a good companion, which is simply not true.
In honor of National Adopt a Senior Pet month, I want to share four reasons why you should consider adopting a senior pet at your local shelter.
Senior pets often already have years of experience on how to be a good roommate, so you don’t have to worry about leaving them alone and coming home to a mess. Most older pets are potty-trained and have already mastered basic commands, which means you don’t need to teach them not to destroy your furniture or to let you know when they need to go outside.
If you have a busy schedule or don’t have the time to train a younger pet, a senior pet can have all the joys of being a pet owner without all the added responsibility of training! But that doesn’t mean you can’t teach an old dog or cat new tricks - senior pets are still receptive to learning new skills.
Older pets have had years to develop their own personality and quirks, so when you meet them, you will have an immediate idea if they match your household and lifestyle. Now this doesn’t mean all senior pets have the same behaviors and personality just because they are older.
A pet’s age has nothing to do with their individuality or what activities they may like. A 10-year-old dog may still love daily walks or enjoy playing with other dogs. Or an older cat may still like to play with her toys and run laps around her home!
Senior pets have so much love left to give and are so excited to be able to share it with you! It can be difficult for some pets to adjust to losing their homes, and older pets know what they’re missing when they end up at a shelter.
They know what it feels like to have a warm bed and family to call their own, so when they are given that opportunity to again, they want to show how thankful they are to their new family.
Adopting a senior pet will make you feel good! It’s a special feeling when you know you gave a homeless pet a safe place to call home and somewhere to live out their golden years. Plus, you’re helping make room at the shelter for them to save another life!
If you’ve been thinking about adding a four-legged family member to your home, I ask you to consider adopting an older cat or dog.
I want you to look past a pet’s age and learn just how special they are, and how grateful they will be when you make them yours. Together, we can work to make sure every pet has a family to call their own.
Editor’s note: Alessandra Navidad is president and CEO of the Arizona Animal Welfare League. Visit aawl.org.
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