November is Adopt a Senior Pet month! You might have noticed that all of the pets that Friends of the Animal Village features on Facebook and Instagram are adults. There’s a reason for that - they need the most help getting adopted! Puppies and kittens have it easy…they usually aren’t at the Little Rock Animal Village for very long before they’re adopted, because that’s just what the majority of adopters want. In the meantime adult pets, especially seniors, can sit at the Village for weeks, even months, waiting for the day that someone will adopt them and take them to their forever home. Sometimes that day never comes…
Anyone who has adopted or fostered or otherwise taken in an adult dog or cat knows well the many advantages they have to offer, and many with lots of experience fostering and rescuing animals will tell you that aside from being far less work than a kitten or puppy, they also seem to understand what you’ve done for them and they truly express sincere gratitude for that every day, and their love for you goes that much deeper. Below is a top ten list of the benefits of adopting a senior pet that we put together with some help from the ASPCA and Petfinder. This list is in no way comprehensive, but it’s a good start.
1. What You See Is What You Get
Older pets are open books—from the start, you’ll know important things like their full-grown size, personality and grooming requirements. All this information makes it easier to pick the right pet and forge that instant love connection that will last a lifetime. If you’re not so into surprises, an older pet is for you!
2. Easy to Train
Think you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? Hogwash! Older dogs are great at focusing on you—and on the task at hand—because they’re calmer than youngsters, and the same goes for cats. Plus, all those years of experience reading humans can help them quickly figure out how to do what you’re asking.
3. Seniors are Super-Loving
One of the cool parts of our job is reading stories from people just like you who have opted to adopt. The emails we get from pet parents with senior pets seem to all contain beautiful, heartfelt descriptions of the love these dogs & cats give you—and those of you who adopted pets already in their golden years told us how devoted and grateful they are. It's an instant bond that cannot be topped!
4. They’re Not a 24-7 Job
Grownup pets don’t require the constant monitoring puppies & kittens do, leaving you with more freedom to do your own thing. If you have young children, or just value your “me time,” this is definitely a bonus.
5. They Settle in Quickly
Older pets have been around the block and already learned what it takes to get along with others and become part of a pack. They’ll be part of the family in no time!
6. Fewer Messes
Your floors, shoes and furniture will thank you for adopting a senior furbaby! Older dogs are likely to already be housetrained—and even if they’re not, they have the physical and mental abilities to pick it up really fast (unlike puppies). With their teething years far behind them, seniors also are much less likely to be destructive chewers. In addition, senior cats are often already litter trained and are less likely to “forget” where the box is.
7. You Won’t Bite Off More Than You Can Chew
There are those who yearn for a furry friend of their own, but hold back because they worry what might happen in their lives in the years to come. And they are wise to do so—a puppy, kitten, or young dog or cat can be anywhere from an 8- to 20-year responsibility, which is not appropriate for the very elderly or those with uncertain long-term future plans. Providing a loving home for a pet in her golden years is not a less serious commitment, but it can be a shorter one.
8. They Enjoy Easy Livin’
Couch potato, know thyself! Please consider a canine or feline retiree rather than a high-energy young dog who will run you ragged, or a rambunctious kitten you’ll have to constantly pull off your drapes. Not that older dogs and cats don’t require any exercise—they do—but they’re not going to need, or want, to run a marathon every day.
9. Save a Life, Be a Hero
At shelters, older dogs and cats are often the last to be adopted and the first to be euthanized. Saving an animal’s life offers an unparalleled emotional return on your investment, and you’ll feel the rewards every day you spend together.
10. They’re CUTE!
Need we say more?