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.
About Michelson Found Animals
Found Animals is an independently funded nonprofit that works to achieve one goal: find the big ideas that will help reduce the number of homeless pets. Led by business, animal welfare and medical professionals, we develop innovative solutions that address the underlying causes of pet homelessness, bringing pets and people together. Programs address pet adoption, pet microchipping and registration, low-cost spay neuter services, and sterilization research. By offering a wealth of educational resources to pet owners and animal care professionals, Found Animals advances the health and safety of animals everywhere. Found Animals was founded by Dr. Gary Michelson and Alya Michelson. Follow our progress online at www.FoundAnimals.org, or via social media at Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
● Senior-Dog Rescues:
Thrive Animal Rescue – Offers a Forever Foster program for senior dogs.(858) 229-4972. www.thriveanimalrescue.com/forever-foster/
Grand-Paws Senior Sanctuary – (661) 286-2066, www.grandpawsrescue.org
The Senior Dogs Project – Resources and information about adopting a senior dog. www.srdogs.com