Adopt a senior pet
By Dr. Rebekah Frost – OBSERVER Columnist
Princess, a happy lab, Houdini, a shaggy terrier mix, Baby, a feisty dachsund, and Halle, a sweet tiger kitty with diabetes — these are just a few names of senior pets that have been adopted by a wonderful employee of ours at the Dunkirk Animal Clinic. Princess and Baby were rescue pups that both had breast cancer and allergic skin issues. Halle was not doing well in her current home. Houdini was an elderly dog adopted from a local shelter. This employee and her partner open up their homes to elderly pets and give these animals a loving home and the care that is needed in a pet’s later years. These pets did not have a chance without this couple being willing to take them in.
November is National Adopt a Senior Pet Month. If you are looking to adopt your next pet, you may consider an older dog or cat. There are many advantages to not only adopting a shelter pet, but adopting a senior shelter pet.
1. You are saving a life! There are many shelters across our country that are so overrun with stray dogs that many have to be euthanized in order to make room for more. Older dogs and cats are usually adopted last, and many times these are the first to be euthanized in these overcrowded shelters.
2. These pets are most likely housebroken. It took me three months to housebreak each of my dogs that I had raised from puppies. When our older dog Chili just showed up in our garage one day, she made herself right at home with our family. It was a blessing to discover that she was already very well housebroken. Housebreaking takes time and commitment and a housebroken dog is definitely a plus!
3. These pets have already been through the destructive puppy phase! Senior pets are already well beyond that destructive puppy phase that leaves us with a few less shoes, destroyed furniture, and more!
4. Senior pets are often calmer and easier to handle. They might be the best choice for a senior citizen. Check with your local shelters, as many shelters have programs called seniors for seniors.
5. Adopting a shelter pet is much more affordable than adopting a puppy. These pets are already spayed or neutered, have already received a series of vaccines, and have been dewormed and flea treated.
6. You are supporting great organizations and making room for more homeless pets.
If you have made the choice to adopt a senior shelter pet, also consider a breed of dog or cat that is much less likely to get adopted. In our area, this breed of dog would be the Pit Bull or similar Bully breed. These dogs have a bad reputation, yet they make the best family pets. They are loveable, smart, easily trained, and full of fun and energy.
I made the decision to adopt a young abused Pit Bull named Claire. This three-legged puppy has brought joy and love to our home and does not let her handicap slow her down. If you own another pet or pets, we recommend a meet and greet to make sure they will get along with the pet you are considering adopting. Bully breeds have a strong urge to chew, therefore make plenty of chew toys available for them!
Cats that are less likely to be adopted are black cats or tiger cats. Black cats also have a bad reputation due solely to their color. People looking to adopt a cat in a shelter tend to be drawn more to kitties that have more color.
If you are adopting a senior pet, make sure they have been properly evaluated by a veterinarian. These senior pets may have an underlying health issue that may need to be addressed and treated. Don’t let this deter you though, you can still give these pets a wonderful quality of life for the remaining time they have on this earth. Consider adopting a pet through the Lakeshore Humane Society. They have four sweet adult Pit Bulls up for adoption at this time that are looking for their forever homes!
If you cannot open your home up to a new pet at this time, consider also donating to the Lakeshore Humane Society or sponsoring one of their elderly pets. This will help the shelter provide the care some of these pets need!