Animal shelters and rescue organizations often find difficulty in the adoption of senior pets. Our society values youth and beauty, even in animals, therefore senior pets are often overlooked when people consider adopting. However, like mature humans, senior pets offer positive life experiences and provide special companionship.
The month of November is recognized as Adopt-a-Senior Pet Month, a time that animal welfare organizations promote the benefits of adopting senior pets. There are several good reasons that people should adopt mature animals.
In 2008, my husband and I adopted a 10-year-old cocker spaniel that had been used for breeding then then tossed away. We hesitated about adopting him, but we love spaniels, and recognizing his chances of being adopted were not great due to his age, we decided to bring him home and grant him his last few years with a loving family. That dog lived to be nearly 18 years of age! I think in part because we gave him a secure, devoted home, but also because he had a buddy with whom to share life.
In 2013, we again adopted after the passing of our 12-year-old springer spaniel (the cocker, Cody, was still with us and was nearly 15). Cody needed a pal and we needed another companion, recognizing Cody’s ever-increasing age. Therefore, we adopted Mary, a springer/cocker mix; she was nearly 7 years old at the time. We wondered if the 8-year-age difference might be a detriment, but, because of Mary’s low-key, sweet demeanor, the two got along very well, and I believe she enhanced the last 2+ years of Cody’s life, even likely extending his life. Because of her older age, Mary’s personality and size were already in place – there was no guessing. She has been a wonderful addition to our family, devoted, kind, friendly, and sweet, and she helped us cope with Cody’s passing in early 2016.
Some people think if an older dog or cat is in the shelter there must be something wrong with it – not so! Many senior pets are relinquished because the owner can no longer care for them due to the person’s health or even death of the owner. Some of the most wonderful companion animals in need of new homes await another chance to shower a family or individual with devotion and affection, just as they did with their previous owner.
Consider adopting an older pet next time you’re looking for another furry companion. You may ultimately be saving a life – and enriching your own!
Recently, PetSmart came to my community of Casper, Wyoming, the first in the state. I have shopped this big box store for pet supplies in many other towns, enjoying the vast array of food, toy, and treat selections for my animals. Therefore, I was happy to see PetSmart open in my community.
I attended the grand opening, as did many others. How wonderful to see the long lines of pet owners and their beloved animals and to visit with the local rescue groups with which the Casper PetSmart is partnering: cats on one side of the building brought in by Temporary Home Animal Rescue (they rescue cats from Metro, our town’s kill-shelter) and dogs from Black Dog Animal Rescue on the other side of the new store. Our town already had a PetCo, which has been part of the community for several years. I have shopped there also. One of the reasons I shop these stores is not just because of the great varieties of food, toys, and treats, but also because each store has a foundation that supports pet rescue and adoption. Unlike other big-box pet stores, PetCo and PetSmart do not sell dogs, cats, puppies or kittens – they promote adoption and partner with local groups that rescue, spay/neuter, and adopt. This helps in many ways: (1) helps decrease the number of puppy/kitten mills; (2) keeps pet overpopulation/breeding at bay; (3) promotes pet adoption.
The foundations of each of these stores assists rescues and shelters in many ways. PetSmart Charities, for example, promotes pet adoptions and spay/neuter, to save lives. Nearly three million dogs and cats are killed in shelters every year. Through PetSmart stores and the Charities program, adoption events are held several weekends every year; in fact, one is planned for this weekend (check the closest PetSmart store near you). The PetCo Foundation also supports and promotes pet adoption events; the organization also raises awareness about and contributes to finding a cure for cancer in pets. And, both organizations/businesses support disaster relief regarding displaced pets. These are reasons I am happy PetSmart and PetCo are in my community. I like supporting small businesses also; however, the impact of these larger stores not only helps the homeless animals in my town, but also reaches beyond my community, helping animals in need across the country.
Another wonderful organization is Petfinder.com – not only can a person find a new furry friend via the group’s online search of shelters and rescues, but they provide wonderful resources on pet care. Petfinder also has a foundation, the mission of which is to “help ensure that no adoptable pet is euthanized for lack of a good home.” The group also helps in times of natural disaster, including the recent raving wildfires that took place in California.
As I wrote in a blog post last year about “it takes a digital village” to reunite pets, it takes a village to help pets in general. People who work in animal shelters, volunteer or staff rescues, individuals who adopt and donate, and businesses and organizations who partner with those shelters and rescues, and those who donate and/or purchase through those organizations and businesses (like PetCo/Foundation, PetSmart/Charities, and Petfinder/Foundation) – we all work together to help pets in need. Whether they are in need of new homes, of shelter from storms, or medical attention from abuse or disaster, we, as individuals, groups, organizations, and businesses, work together for the betterment of animals.
Animal shelters and pet rescue groups throughout the country take in numerous pets every year. In fact, statistics show that nearly seven million animals enter humane societies, SPCAs, and animal shelters every year; nearly half are killed due to lack of space and low adoption numbers. However, for people who do adopt, there's a plethora of animals from which to choose and so the questions: Which type – dog, cat, guinea pig, rabbit, reptile? What breed or kind? How old? How do you choose the right pet for yourself?
Here are five ideas:
The ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) provides a list of pros and cons to adding a pet to your home. They offer tips and guidelines for those considering adopting a dog, a cat, a hamster, a guinea pig, a rabbit, or having a fish. View these tips, and other important pet information, at the organization's website: https://www.aspca.org/adopt/adoption-tips/right-pet-you.
So, which pet is the right one? The one that is right for you!
Springtime brings more people outdoors and thoughts about adding a pet to one’s life often occurs during better weather. Playing with a dog in the backyard, taking walks in the neighborhood and beyond, and opening windows to smell fresh air and hear birds sing conjure up ideas about sharing experiences – and life – with a four-footed friend.
Adopting a pet from a local shelter or rescue is a positive thing; oftentimes, adoption saves lives. The ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), which promotes Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month during April, reports that nearly 6.5 million animals are brought into animal shelters across the nation each year, and about 1.5 are killed in those facilities, oftentimes due to lack of adoption and lack of space. Therefore, adoption does save lives.
However, before running out to your local animal shelter or pet rescue organization, there are five questions a person should honestly answer before bringing a pet home. They are:
Let’s take a quick look at each of these questions and hopefully, help you answer them.
Being ready for a pet means examining your lifestyle and family situation. Primarily, do you have enough time to devote to a pet? Is someone responsible enough to not just feed and water the animal, but also to spend quality time playing with and providing activity and companionship for the pet? How many hours do you and your family spend away from home, which would leave the pet alone, possibly bored which, in turn, could lead to destructive behaviors. Make sure you have time to spend with your adopted animal – before you adopt.
What pet best fits your lifestyle? If you are gone a lot, a cat would likely be better than a dog. Cats are often much more independent; not saying you should ignore your cat, but a kitty doesn’t require walking, running, or playing activities as much as a cat does. Still, all pets need friendship and companionship, no matter what type of animal you consider bringing home. Various breeds of dogs need more, or less, activity, so if you’re considering adopting a dog, research the breed’s activity level requirements as well as personality traits. A great place to go for such information is the American Kennel Club’s website:
Finding a place from which to adopt a pet is fairly easy. There are many organizations whose mission it is to help animals in need of new homes. Local animal shelters and humane societies, as well as a wide variety of rescue organizations make saving pets and re-homing them a priority. The best place to start is your local shelter or rescue. Petfinder.com is also a great resource and helps thousands of pets find new homes every year. At this website, you will find specific breeds and ages of animals simply by using the parameters, and your zip code, at the site.
Speaking of ages, does a puppy or kitten suit your lifestyle or is it best for you to adopt an older animal? Baby and teenaged pets often require much more attention, care, and training, whereas adults and seniors are likely to be already trained and able to spend more time alone without worry of soiled carpet or chewed/clawed up furniture. Carefully consider how much time you have with the pet before being swept away by puppy and kitten cuteness.
Another option for adoption is a pet with a disability. These are often the most overlooked, and therefore, most likely to die in shelters. Yet, they are loving, faithful friends when given the chance. Blind, deaf, three-legged, or diabetic, these animals need loving, dedicated homes, too, oftentimes more so than “normal” pets. Consider adopting a pet with a disability, but also carefully consider the pets needs and if you can meet those needs. Deaf animals can – and do – respond to training via hand signals, and blind pets need more safety measures in place. These things are doable, and not costly.
So, are you ready to adopt a pet? Find more information about pet adoption and pet care at https://www.aspca.org/adopt-pet/adoption-tips
A little more than a year ago, my husband and I lost our nearly 18-year-old cocker spaniel named Cody. We had adopted him when he was almost 10 years of age. He had been used as a stud dog for a breeder and then basically tossed away like yesterday’s garbage. When we discovered him at our local humane society, his sad spaniel eyes ignited my heart. Even though he likely wouldn’t be with us but a few years, we determined to give him the best couple of years of his life. Two years turned into three, into five, into seven. At 17 ¾ years of age, Cody crossed the Rainbow Bridge, knowing he was loved, adored, and pampered to the very end.
Our hearts and home are more empty since his passing, but the nearly eight years we shared with Cody were filled with laughter, joy, and love.
We still have Mary, a springer-cocker mix we adopted four years ago this week. She was nearly seven when she came to live with us, and we credit Mary with helping keep Cody going as long as he did. They shared walks in the woods with us, trips to the dog park, and travels in the car, as well as cuddles on the couch and snuggles in bed. Their friendship was very special, especially considering they were not raised together.
Mary turns 11 next week. We’ve considered adopting another dog as she was raised with a smaller pup prior to her going into rescue at the death of her special person in 2012. She misses Cody; that was readily apparent in the early months after Cody’s passing. She is bonded to us, especially to my husband who often gets to work from home. When does a person know the right time to adopt a pet, whether one pet has passed or a person has never been the guardian of an animal before?
Just like with having kids, no time may be the actual “right time” to adopt, but one thing is for sure: a person must MAKE TIME to care for a pet properly. I would encourage anyone considering adopting a pet to make sure you have time to give, that your life is not so incredibly full that the animal will be left alone for countless hours and have little interaction with its human family. Too many animals are given up because of the excuse “I don’t have time for it.” Just as children need nurturing, attention, and care, so do our pets. They rely on us, they need us, and they want us to share time and activities with them.
So, if you’re thinking of adopting a pet, ensure you won’t change your mind in a month or so and say “I don’t have time.” First and foremost, make sure time is something you do have, or will make, before bringing a pet into your home.
And, if you think you can’t find the type of pet, the breed of dog or cat you want, think again: not all shelter pets are “mutts.” In fact, depending on where you live and what you’re looking for, 5 to 25 percent of shelter pets are purebred. Look on Petfinder.com for a specific breed, sex, and even whether they’re good with children or other animals. And, view this website for some of the types of dog breeds one is likely to find at shelters: https://mom.me/pets/19900-dog-breeds-commonly-found-animal-shelters/. Additionally, specific breed rescues can be found at this website: http://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/rescue-network/contacts/.
Is it time for my husband and I to adopt another dog? Not yet, but likely by the end of the year. I do look, and I do consider. And perhaps we’ll change our minds mid-year and adopt again at that time. We’ll know when the time is right – I believe you will, too for you and your family.
Guest Post by Kelly Wright, Rover.com
Those of us who have had the honor of adding a rescue pet to our families know what incredible creatures they are — and so do the amazing people working in animal rescue who make these connections possible!
Through our conversations with rescue volunteers for our latest feature, Real-life Heroes: Animal Rescue Volunteers Share How They Keep Fighting the Good Fight, the Rover.com team learned that although there are many of us who are advocates of adopting, rescue pets are still often misunderstood. And unfortunately, these misconceptions often prevent loving animals from finding their forever homes.
Here are a few falsehoods rescuers want to clear up about the animals they save:
All kinds of breeds need to be rescued — even purebreds
It is a flat-out myth that there are only mixed or large breeds available for adoption. No matter what kind of critter your heart desires, you’re likely to find one in your local shelter or rescue.
“What we get a lot of is that people want a purebred, or they need a hypoallergenic dog for allergies. We have those in rescues,” said Lisa Jensen, a Board Member of Safe Haven Animal Rescue in Oklahoma City. “In Oklahoma, we have a problem with puppy mills, and we often get the rejects from the mills. Those kids are great dogs, and purebred!”
And if your local rescue doesn’t have what you’re looking for, Lisa said you can still opt to adopt: “Even in the shelters, we have so many purebreds!”
You’re also not limited to rescuing an adult if you have hopes of bringing a puppy or kitten into your home.
“If you are looking for a younger animal, shelters often have puppies and kittens,” said Jessi Burns, Marketing and Communications Manager of Foothills Animal Shelter in Colorado.
They come with ‘built-in’ benefits
Of course, if you are open to adopting an adult or even a senior pet, there are plenty in need of a good home — and it turns out, there are a lot of perks to picking a pet with a little experience under his belt!
“A lot of shelter animals are adults, so what you see is what you get,” Jessi explained. “When you meet them, you can get an idea about their personality, size, and energy level.”
And this can be especially helpful for parents with younger children, and aren’t looking for another “kid” to raise.
“In addition, most have already lived in a home environment, so they know how to behave appropriately and won’t chew on your furniture or go to the bathroom indoors,” Jessi went on.
They’re truly good pets — the rescues do their homework!
It is true that tragically, many of the animals that wind up in shelters or in rescues have had a rough start, and some are a bit more timid than others due to past neglect or even abuse.
But don’t let that stop you from adoption — the volunteers who work in animal rescue put every effort into rehabilitating animals physically and emotionally, and don’t adopt them out until they’re confident they’re ready for their new family.
“Yes, animals with behavior issues do come into rescue, but those animals are placed in experienced foster homes,” Marina Hebert, a volunteer with Small Animal Rescue Society of BC in Vancouver, pointed out.
Many people who foster have years of experience working with special-needs pets, and work with rescues time and again to make sure that these creatures get the time and attention they need before going off to their forever homes.
“The ones rescues put up for adoption have been carefully screened,” explained Marina.
The close relationship fosterers and rescuers share with the pets they care for not only helps ensure that they’re ready to live with a new family, but also that they’ll end up with the perfect people.
“They’ve spent time with volunteers who know all their needs and quirks, and actually know them so they can match them to the right people,” Marina said.
The truth is, every animal deserves a happy life, no matter how they got their start. If you’re interested in adding a new furry — or feather, or scaly, or even hairless! — family member to your brood, consider visiting your local shelter or rescue.
As Jessi told us, not only will you save a life, but you’ll also make an irreplaceable friend. “I truly believe that shelter animals make the most amazing pets and companions!”
Kelly Wright explores and celebrates the magical and mysterious bond between pets and people for Rover.com’s Animal Heroes section. If you have an amazing story about how an animal has brought joy and wonder to your life, please email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Most of us know that warm, fuzzy feeling of seeing a puppy or kitten at play. Pet lovers all recognize that tug at our heartstrings when we visit a Humane Society or animal shelter and see the many animals looking at us sadly through the cages. We also know the quiver of our lip when we look on the Internet, view the photos, and read the stories of the numerous pets needing new homes, looking to be placed by the hundreds of pet rescue organizations. Many of us, in turn, respond by adopting a pet or two.
There is little else that lifts one’s spirits than to come home from a tough day at work or school and be happily greeted by a four-footed friend. If you are thinking of adding a pet to your home, seriously consider adoption – more than four million animals every year go into shelters and rescues.
October is National Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog Month, a great time to add a furry friend to your household. Here are six tips to help insure you and your new pet will spend many wonderful years together:
When I was a child growing up and attending elementary school in Iowa, I had a best friend named Shelly. In Junior High and High School my best friend was named JoAnn; in college, it was Cindy, and as a young woman, my roommate Lisa became like the sister I never had. All of these best friends had one thing in common: they accepted me for who I was – no judgments, no trying to change me, no ulterior motives. That’s rare these days in human beings. I remain good friends with each of these ladies yet today, and I am thankful for them.
In our pets, we find the above-noted traits and countless others: loyalty, affection, acceptance, friendship, love. And, companion animals waiting for a home and people of their own have best friends in the staff and volunteers at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. Located in Kanab, Utah, Best Friends Animal Society and Sanctuary provides a home for dogs, cats, horses, rabbit, birds, pigs, goats, and numerous other species while those animals await permanent, loving homes.
Best Friends became best friends to animals affected by Hurricane Katrina, saving them and finding new homes for them. They were – and still are -- best friends to the dogs traumatized by the Michael Vick dog fighting ring – Best Friends gave them a new, better, loving life. Best Friends takes in feline leukemia cats, blind dogs, and swayback horses. They work with those who fear and distrust humans due to cruelty, neglect and/or abandonment. Best Friends staff and volunteers love, accept, work with, and help the animals many would ignore, devalue, and kill.
Best Friends Animal Society turns 30 years old this year. I was blessed to spend just a few short hours at the sanctuary for tours, and I came away inspired, awed, and with a new resolve to help however I can. The people, place, animals, and organizational mission is inspiring and awe-striking.
I’ve been blessed with several furry best friends: Sam, Ama, Sage, Cody, Mary, Murphy, Bailey – each an individual, just like each person is an individual. And yet, every day 9,000 individual lives are killed in shelters every day, not because they are ill but because we humans don’t value their lives. We give them up because we’re moving, having a baby, lack time (or so we say) or don’t spay/neuter them to prevent litters. In other words, because we don’t take responsibility for their care: those animals that depend on us just as a human baby/child does are viewed as disposable or an inconvenience, not as an individual life for which we are responsible. It’s time to wake up, people, and view all life as a gift from the Creator who made each person, each animal as an individual, and when He created, He called that creation “good.”
Be a Best Friend – be a responsible pet owner – and be a voice for those who cannot speak for themselves … just like Best Friends Animal Society. Learn more about No More Homeless Pets and the Save Them All campaigns at www.bestfriends.org. Let’s be the caring, kind, compassionate, benevolent people we are created to be and value and cherish the individual lives the Creator made and blessed – after all, He called them, and us, all of His creation “good.”
Although spring seemed to delay its arrival, summer is now just around the corner. With this time of year often comes the evidence of littering – litters of puppies and kittens that is. What will happen to all of these little ones, and the ones that will be born later this year and the ones born to those youngsters also not spayed? Will each one find a special home? Doubtful.
Nearly four million dogs, cats, puppies and kittens are euthanized in animal shelters every year, and for every person born in the United States, there are seven puppies and kittens born. An unspayed female cat and her offspring can contribute several thousand additional cats in a lifetime. Animal shelters and rescue organizations become overwhelmed with the number of puppies and kittens brought to them. There is one simple solution: spay or neuter your pet!
Many myths exist about spaying and neutering, and most are just that: myths. Here are some facts about pets that are spayed or neutered:
Cesar Milan, the nationally-recognized and respected “Dog Whisperer”, debunks many spay and neuter myths on his website: http://www.cesarsway.com/tips/basics/spay-and-neuter-myths.
To learn more about spaying and neutering myths and facts, visit
Lack of homes and pet overpopulation is a serious national, regional, state and community problem –so let’s fix the problem by fixing our pets! Remember the motto: Please don't litter, fix your critter!
You've probably seen the TV ads: sorrowful eyes staring out from cages. You've heard the plea: help shelter pets. You may have even heard the longing in your child's voice: “Can we PLEASE get a dog?!” All pluck at your heart like a harp string, making you seriously consider adding a dog to your household.
But, you have questions – good for you! Your pondering shows responsibility, and that’s crucial of a dog owner. What else?
NEVER get a dog on impulse! CONTINUE READING BY CLICKING HERE - GUEST BLOG POST AT CIRCLES OF FAITH!