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Adopting a Senior Dog or Cat
Can You Give an Older Pet a Loving Retirement Home?

Puppies and kittens are snuggly, adorable, and impossibly cute. That's why they're also the type of pets in highest demand. But there are scores of adult and senior pets also waiting for a forever home - perfectly wonderful, loving dogs and cats just need a chance. Would-be adopters understandably want to know the pros and cons of .

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At animal shelters and rescue organizations everywhere, there are loving, healthy senior dogs and cats looking for that one special home that will cherish them for the time they have left. And they don't ask for much: just a warm place to sleep, good meals, and plenty of love. It is heartbreaking to see the numbers of older pets looking hopefully through the wire of their kennels, just waiting for a family to welcome them into their home.

Some of the reasons why people are reluctant to adopt an older pet include:

  • Worries that an older pet will not bond strongly with them. This is untrue! Pets of all ages can and do form strong bonds with their people. Many seem to understand that they've been given another chance and they're grateful for the opportunity to love someone and be loved back. Patience and love work wonders!

  • Risk of higher medical bills. A senior pet may have a few health problems that perhaps a younger animal may not. But then again, there is no guarantee either that a younger pet won't have health problems, either. It's true that as pets age (just like when us humans age), the chance of age-related conditions are more likely to crop up. The cost of appropriate veterinary care is something that definitely needs to be taken into consideration.

  • Fear that your time together will be short. Losing a pet is heartbreaking. There's no getting around it, older pets are likely to have less time with us than a younger one - but the time they have with us is just as special. It's the quality of your time together that's important.

There are great things about adopting a senior pet, too - that's why many people who have adopted senior dogs and cats keep doing so, time and time again! Here are some reasons to adopt a senior pet:

  • No 'baby-phase' - that means no chewing, scratching, or destroying! Senior pets tend to be calmer and more relaxed, content to just hang out with you.

  • Many senior pets are already trained. Many are already housetrained and may know some commands. And if not, a senior dog's attention span is much higher than that of a puppy; teaching them new things often takes less time - there's just no truth to the old saying, you can't teach an old dog new tricks!

    There may be an adjustment period, of course, when the pet first goes home with you. This is true of any pet. Be patient and give them time to understand what is expected of them.

  • They're a pleasure to be around. Whether you want to lounge around on the couch or go for a stroll, senior pets are just happy to be with you. They're sweet and loving, and often fit right into their new homes easily.

  • You can feel good knowing that you're giving a deserving pet a loving home for their 'retirement' years. Senior pets are often overlooked in shelters to the point where some shelters lower the adoption fee for older pets. Yet many people who have taken the chance and adopted a senior pet have fallen completely in love with them and would gladly adopt another older pet when the time comes.

If you're considering a new pet, why not give some thought to giving a deserving senior a second chance? Adopting a senior dog or cat can be a greatly rewarding experience. Instead of passing by the older pets in the shelter, stop and spend some time with them - you may end up finding the most wonderful companion you could have ever asked for!

"Blessed is the person who has earned the love of an old dog."
(Sydney Jeanne Seward)

You can find senior pets looking for homes at: