The plight of a senior animal in a rescue or shelter is heart wrenching. An animal likely used to living in a home, with a family and a comfortable routine can become extremely depressed, confused, and listless when finding itself suddenly sequestered to a shelter, surrounded by unfamiliar people and animals. The fate of many senior pets that have been relinquished is often a sad one, as well. Finding adopters for older pets with less energy, a shorter lifespan, and a greater potential for health problems is next to impossible, often leading to the humane euthanasia of these trusty and loyal companions. For someone who may be interested in adopting a senior pet, but still unsure whether it is the right decision, listed below are only a few reasons to consider taking home a golden aged dog or cat.
They have more love to give
Sure, puppies and kittens are great, but there is nothing that rivals the amount of love a rescued senior has to offer. Seniors recognize better than any other dog or cat that the person saving them from the shelter deserves every ounce of love and affection they have to give. If you want a constant companion and adoring best friend, consider an older pet.
They are better behaved
Unlike younger animals, senior pets are less likely to have been relinquished to a shelter for behavioral reasons. Instead, seniors often come to shelters because their aging owners are no longer able to care for them, have moved into assisted living, or have even passed away. Senior pets are likely already housebroken or litter-box trained and have good house manners and basic obedience skills.
They have less energy
Senior animals are perfect for the busy person who would love to have a pet, but doesn’t have the amount of time required to devote to training and exercising a puppy or young dog. Most seniors require just one or two walks or play sessions a day for optimal health, which is vastly different from the hours of play time younger dogs of certain breeds require.
They make great companions for existing pets
For many dogs and cats, having a companion animal can enrich their quality of life. A senior pet is a no-brainer because most animals, even the most dominant ones, will react amiably to an older dog or cat. Since seniors are typically lower-maintenance, the addition of an older dog to the household can be less work, which is an all around win-win situation.
Fostering saves lives, too
If unsure whether adopting a senior is right for you, consider fostering. Many rescues recognize the fact that seniors have an especially tough time living in a shelter and try to save as many golden agers as possible. However, they can only save as many pets as there are available foster homes. The benefits of fostering a dog or cat are the same as adopting one, with the added benefit that the rescue will pay for the animal’s care for the duration that he or she is in your home.
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