Adopting a Senior Pet

New Pet Owners  •  Pam Karkow  •  Tuesday, May 12, 2020

A couple years ago, when we began the process of adopting a new dog, we knew we wanted a golden retriever.  Although it would have been fun to start over with a puppy,  we were overwhelmed by the number of dogs needing forever homes, and just wanted to give any of the dogs we saw on the adoption website a family to call his own.

Each time I logged onto the website, I saw this sweet, graying puppy dog face.  The face belonged to Rex, a golden retriever who was aging gracefully and looked like the biggest love bug one has ever seen.  I fell in love at first sight, but my husband said no.  You see, we had just finished caring for our aging pet, Summer, and our hearts were still healing from the pain of watching her health deteriorate.  He just wasn’t ready for that again.  But someone was.

The next time I logged onto the site, Rex was not there.  He had been adopted by a family who I eventually saw in pictures.  The pictures showed a little girl, with her arms barely wrapping around the mane of Rex’s big boy-dog neck.  She was in love, and so was he.  Rex was in his forever home, and it was perfect. 

Reasons to adopt a senior pet

This month is Adopt a Senior Pet month, and a good time to talk about the benefits of adopting a more seasoned furry friend.  There are so many reasons to consider adopting older pets, and here are just a few…

  1. Adopting an older dog/cat may very well save his life.  Shelters and rescue organization are already overcrowded, and an older animal may be euthanized before younger ones.  When you adopt a senior pet, you are not only giving it a better life, you may be saving a life.
  2. Older dogs and cats are not problem animals, as some may see them. Animals lose their homes for a variety of reasons--allergies, death of a guardian, new baby, a move--and they deserve a second chance.
  3. Senior pets come trained and understand basic commands.  This can be a huge plus.  In our case, we wanted a dog who was already potty-trained, and who didn’t need to go through an obedience class.  A senior dog is perfect for a family who wants the companionship of a pet, without all the training that comes along with adopting a puppy.
  4. A senior pet can teach us to slow down, and appreciate life.  Colorado resident, Steve Greig has a special place in his heart for senior animals, of all ages and kinds.  On is popular Instagram account, Greig writes, "I get asked a lot about how I managed to cope with the inevitable heartbreak that comes with senior dog adoption. I think that the heartbreak is offset by the increased appreciation I have for life specifically because I have a house full of seniors."

Age is just a number

If giving one a greater appreciation for life isn’t the perfect reason to adopt a senior pet, I don’t know what is. Many pet owners worry that by adopting a senior pet they will adopt the veterinary bills that often come with aging, however by enrolling in pet insurance you can reduce the overall cost of veterinary care while still providing your new pup with the treatment he needs. Most senior pets in shelters have many more good years ahead of them that they would love to share with you! 


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