November is Adopt A Senior Pet Month

Older cat
Senior pets can be the best choice for a new family member. They have lots of love to give.

Senior Pet Adoptions

November is Adopt A Senior Pet Month

By Janet Tobiassen Crosby, DVM, About.com Guide

I am particularly fond of senior pets and pet adoptions. Thanks to Petfinder, the popular pet adoption site, November is the time to celebrate both.

Here are my top 5 reasons that senior pets deserve a "first look," and helpful resources for senior pet adoption and showing off our favorite senior pets.

Senior Pets Rock

Here are five reasons why:

1) They've been around the block.
The situations of why the senior pet is looking for a home vary; a divorce in the family, change of jobs, a move, or in some cases, the passing of their owner.

In many cases, there are people involved who know about the history, personality, and special needs of the senior pet. This knowledge helps match the pet with someone who can best care for them.

Senior pets are generally quieter and calmer. They have lived through many experiences and are less likely to get overly excited by "everyday" events.

2) They aren't as likely to eat your sock.
With the puppy or kitten days behind them, these pets aren't chewing, climbing, scratching or eating things that they shouldn't be.

3) They're ready to go for a walk.
Most senior dogs are familiar with a leash, able to meet and greet people and pets in a calm manner, and love going for walks. The exercise helps keep their weight at optimum levels, keeps their heart, bones and joints healthy, and benefits their human companion too.

Cats don't go for walks like dogs do, but they can immediately notice a lap, warm computer, or warm laundry just out of the dryer that needs to be occupied.  They will hopefully be less curious and less likely than a younger cat to jump in the warm dryer.

4) They listen to you talk.
Besides being an excellent listener, senior dogs often know many basic commands, such as sit, down, and stay. Many of them know some variation of "let's go for a walk" too.

Cats may not seem like they are listening at any age, but they are.

Senior pets, by nature calmer and usually wiser for their years, also recognize that "no" means no more quickly than their younger counterparts. (If they happen to find themselves in a situation where "no" is required.)

5) They will be a loyal and grateful member of your flock.
Situations vary, but more often than not, senior pets had a home at some point in their life.  Maybe they were rescued from a bad situation or maybe they were surrendered to a shelter, but either way, they never expected to find themselves in the "homes wanted" ads.

They know when they have it good.  They will love you for it.  I especially like what Petfinder has on their adoption widget: "Senior pets are seasoned at love."

The Other Side Of The Coin

Many senior pets are healthy, active, and will bring years of love and enjoyment to your family.  It is also true some senior pets have medical issues or other conditions that would classify them as "special needs."  This may require extra veterinary care and may incur additional costs for that care, a special diet, or other needs.

Be honest with the adoption group and discuss any special health conditions and needs a pet requires prior to adoption.  Speak with your veterinarian, too.  If still unsure, you may be able to foster that pet prior to adopting to see how it will work out for both of you.

Seniors Deserve A First Look

Don't rule them out. They have lots of life and love to gratefully give.

November 09, 2010 00:00

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