Consider Adopting an Older Pet, Whose Energy Level and Habits Could Make It More Owner Friendly
Being in a shelter is difficult for any animal, but it is especially difficult for the elderly, who can be stressed out from all the barking and activity.
Although the elderly in shelters are often overlooked because people want a young dog or puppy, I would take a senior rather than a high maintenance puppy any day of the week. I have two dogs aged 14 and 11. Last year we adopted a 10 year old dog. Only he has no idea that he’s 11 now, because he acts like he’s around 4.
The label “senior” does not mean old. Most older pets are active and can still provide many years of companionship and joy to someone willing to give them a chance. They might not be puppies anymore, but that also means they won’t eat your shoes, wake you up at all hours of the night to go out, or jump on your guests.
While dogs and cats are often considered old people when they reach the age of 7 to 9, small breeds can live for 16 to 20 years. Large dogs have a shorter lifespan, but some live into their teens with good health and proper care.
Older pets can make great companions for the elderly. Often times, older people seek the companionship of a pet, but a puppy or kitten may not be the best option due to the energy level and amount of care a young animal requires.
Puppies can also quickly grow up to be large, strong dogs that need training and, depending on their size, a strong handler.
A mature dog is long past the chewing and barking puppy stage, with the exception of my Romeo, who barks at everyone, and will likely have an energy level that is manageable for an older person. Most are happy to lounge on the sofa and take nice afternoon walks.
Pets are also good for your health. A person who has a dog is likely to go out more and walk regularly to exercise that animal. Pets also provide a natural boost to mental health.
The company of a pet is especially beneficial for someone who may live alone or not go out much to interact socially. A pet is a natural topic of conversation with neighbors when you go for a walk.
In an effort to find homes for senior pets, many shelters and shelters in our area offer special adoptions for the elderly, known as ‘fospices’ adoptions, where older animals are placed in a foster home. hospice and the organization provides medical care, while the family home provides all the necessities and a loving environment for the rest of the animal’s life.
Please consider adopting or fostering a senior pet. Older pets shouldn’t have to spend their golden years in a kennel. Every shelter has older people who are often overlooked for the younger options and they also yearn for a home of their own. Age is just a number, right?
Traci D. Howerton is the Volunteer Coordinator for Animal Rescue New Orleans (ARNO), a non-profit, volunteer-based, no-kill shelter. For topic suggestions, email [email protected] or for more information on ARNO, visit www.animalrescueneworleans.org