Shelters are full of older animals hoping for a second chance at life. Many of these dogs and cats were once owned and loved by someone, but for various reasons end up homeless.
A lot of people think that if they drop their older pet off at the shelter, the pet will get adopted and have a great life with someone else. Sadly, most of the time, this just isn’t so. Many of these animals become depressed and are overlooked in favor of younger, cuter puppies and kittens.
When most people think of bringing a pet into their family, they are thinking of a warm, cuddly, tail-wagging, wet-nosed pup or kitten. While puppies and kittens are lovely, there are a lot of solid reasons to consider adopting an older pet.
Senior pets need homes just as badly as younger ones, and make loving and loyal companions. Here are a few reasons you should adopt a senior dog or cat.
- You Can Be A Hero
By adopting an older pet, you’re fighting for the value and beauty of life at all ages and stages. Shelters are frequently overcrowded and older dogs and cats are often among the first to be euthanized. In choosing an older animal, you are truly saving a life. It’s heroic to see beauty and love where others often don’t even bother looking and give an older animal a second chance to live out the rest of their life with dignity and love.
- Older Pets Are Often Already Trained
Most older animals have already mastered training basics. They know where it’s proper to go potty, and that shoes are for walking, not chewing. A senior animal has learned many of life’s lessons already, and they are quick to understand what you’re asking from them. Older pets, especially those who have once experienced love and affection, will try to please you by being obedient and showing good house manners.
- Seniors Have Fewer Surprises
Older pets are already full grown and have established personalities. They’re easy to assess for size and temperament because they’ve already gone through the period of life where those things can easily change. There are no surprises as to what color his adult coat will be, or whether his hips will be healthy. You won’t be wondering exactly how big they’ll grow, and you’ll know who the animal is – aloof, friendly, shy, or whatever personality type – so it’s easier to decide how the senior you choose will fit into your family and your lifestyle.
- Seniors Are Less Demanding
Don’t adopt a dog or cat unless you’re prepared to give them love and attention, spend money, and make some personal sacrifices. A senior animal is often less demanding than a highly-energetic, untrained puppy or kitten. While many seniors still enjoy brisk daily exercise, they’re also content to nap and cuddle, and they can fit into many households with ease. A senior pet won’t run you ragged. Most grownup animals don’t require the constant monitoring and ongoing training that puppies and kittens need, so they’re a good choice for older people or busy families with young children.
- Old Animals Give Instant Companionship
Most senior pets have already been socialized and learned what it takes to get along with humans and, often, with other pets. You can skip a lot of the training and socialization that pets require and just get to the cuddling. Older dogs know the routine – when you open the car door they jump right in. They know what the word “walk” means or “treat” so you can have more meaningful interactions with your older dog without years of training. The reward for spending time with your new senior companion is the quick bond you create that builds a special future together.
- Old Dogs Do Learn New Tricks
Older dogs are eager to learn new tricks. That may go against what you’ve heard in the past, but it’s true. Animals can be trained at any age. A senior pet, given a new chance for a loving home, will reward your care with unwavering devotion and do their best to please you, which makes teaching new tricks pretty easy. Not to mention, older pets often make excellent therapy animals.
If you’re going to bring home a new pet, it’s important to educate yourself so you can give the animal time to adjust to their new surroundings and family. Observe your new pet to get familiar with their personality, likes, and dislikes and to see how he or she is communicating with you.
A kind, understanding attitude helps them make the adjustment with ease and comfort. The privilege of loving a senior animal can make every day special.
For those reluctant to consider a senior because the possibility of a painful loss seems closer, remember that life offers no guarantees. Quality of time together matters so much more than quantity.
Have you adopted a senior pet? What other benefits do older pups and cats give? Let us know!