It’s National Adopt-A-Senior-Pet month. Sadly many seniors pets lose their homes because their pet parents are seniors too and have either died or moved to accommodations where they are no longer able to keep a pet.
Senior pets are a joy to have around and by adopting you are doing something really meaningful and special. Found Animals , an independently run non-profit organisation has outlined some helpful information to debunk the myths surrounding older pets.
So,if you are thinking of adopting, please think senior pets first …
1. If I adopt a senior pet, I’ll be inheriting someone else’s problem.
Maybe the owner died, or their house foreclosed on (a huge contributing factor to shelter volume these days). Maybe the owner’s situation changed in some other way, like they had to move, fell ill, or lost their job. There are lots of reasons why people part ways with their pets. Many of them are sad, but few are because of the pet itself.
2. Senior pets will cost me a fortune in vet bills.
Not necessarily. Every pet is different. If the pet has received preventative care its whole life up to that point, it may be perfectly healthy. If you’re worried, get a health assessment from a veterinarian before you adopt – good advice no matter the age as puppies and kittens could have health problems just as easily as older dogs and cats. (And if you think puppies are less expensive, you must have a closet full of cheap shoes.)
3. Senior pets are not trainable.
The old adage, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” is not true at all. More mature pets may be even more willing to learn “new tricks.” They have more patience and focus. (It was much easier teaching my 8-year-old dog “sit” and “stay,” than it was training my puppy who just wanted to run around and chase her tail.) Pets can be trained at any age, and older pets also come with valuable problem-solving skills gained by experience.
4. Senior pets aren’t active or playful.
If they’re in good health, senior pets can remain active for years to come. It’s up to you to give them the opportunity to get the exercise they need and keep them engaged in play. The puppy I had ten years ago can still run and swim circles around me today and my twelve-year-old dog is always up for a game of ball or tug-of-war.
5. I don’t want to have to say goodbye so soon.
In life, there are no guarantees. I have seen pets live to a ripe, geriatric age and pass of natural causes; and seen pets taken too soon by accident or disease. Anytime you have a relationship with a living thing you risk getting your heart broken. That’s just the reality we live in. What’s great about adopting a senior pet, though, is that you know you are saving that pet’s life and ensuring them a happy second chapter.