We've all heard the old adage, "Love comes in many forms." And it's true, especially if you're a pet lover. Love also comes in many ages—and no matter the age or species of the animal you fall in love with, you should never be afraid to consider adopting a senior pet.
When most people consider the addition of a new family pet, they imagine a curious, wide-eyed kitten or a tail-wagging, wet-nosed puppy. And while kittens and puppies are lovely, there are a lot of reasons to consider adopting an older pet. Indeed, senior pets need homes just as badly as younger ones and, regardless of their age, they make loving and loyal companions.
November is Adopt-A-Senior-Pet Month, so we thought it would be a great time to share a few reasons why older pets make great companions!
They Have a Built-in Personality
When you adopt a senior cat or dog, you have the privilege of choosing a pet with a fully formed personality that fits your lifestyle. An adult pet that has graduated from the kitten or puppy stage has an established demeanor and temperament, which will give you an instant idea of how it will fit with your family. Plus, senior pets have learned many of life's lessons already, and they are quick to understand household expectations. Which means there are no growing pains and no surprises. It's as simple as bringing home your new best friend.
You’ll know from the start important considerations when adopting an older pet, such as their full-grown size and grooming requirements, because they've already gone through the period of life where such things can easily change. You'll know what makes your pet tick, including their quirks and what they’re like, whether they’re aloof, friendly, shy, or snuggly. This can make it easier to pick the right pet.
They’re Calmer than Their Younger Brethren
Everyone loves kittens and puppies, but not everyone is equipped to handle a bundle of energy who still hasn’t learned that it's a faux pas to scratch the furniture, can’t make it through the night without a bathroom break, or who requires constant supervision and hours of training. But most older pets have already mastered these basics.
Older pets are much less destructive, so you won’t have to puppy or kitty-proof your home. They’re more likely to be housebroken and have learned family manners. And you can rest assured that an older dog probably won’t chew up your shoes, as they’re not likely to indulge in very many puppy antics. A senior dog is more likely to be content doing what you want them to do and probably knows all the basic commands. And a senior cat won’t attack your feet under the blankets … well, maybe they will (they ARE cats, after all), but certainly with less ferocity.
And if their training is still a bit lacking, they have the physical and mental abilities to quickly pick up the skills they lack, while their younger counterparts might take much longer to learn such skills.
A Senior Pet Still Has So Much Love to Give
Unfortunately, senior pets are often passed over by potential adopters. But they’re just as loyal and loving as younger pets, and they’d love to prove it.
Puppies and kittens are easily the cutest, most infectious beings to grace the planet. That said, they’re too busy figuring out life and expending energy to pay much attention to you. But a senior pet is different. Adopting a senior animal is an act of love—it takes a special person to see beauty and love where others often don't even bother looking. Giving an older pet a second chance to live out the rest of their life with dignity is one of the most loving things one can do.
Older pets know how good life really is. They’re grateful to cuddle on the couch. They're ecstatic to just spend time with you, and many adopters strongly believe that their older rescues know how fortunate they are to be given a second chance at happiness.
In Golden Retriever (DogLife: Lifelong Care for Your Dog), writer Milan Kundera writes:
“To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring—it was peace.”
We believe this is true of all pets, but especially of senior pets. There are few things more beautiful than seeing your good ol’ boy lounging beside you with the afternoon sun warming his coat, or seeing your senior cat curled up in the perfect sunspot on the bed. Real joy come from sharing those moments with your aging pet, because your pet not only knows how to savor those moments with you, but is delighted to be given the chance to have those golden moments with the one they love.
If you’re planning on adopting a companion for your family, we encourage you to consider adopting a senior pet. You can also help spread the word about the benefits of adopting senior pets by sharing this blog. If you’re interested in reading more about senior pets, please check out our previous blog, How to Keep Your Senior Dog Going Strong in His Golden Years.
Also, we’d love to see pictures of your senior pets! We welcome you to share their photo on our Facebook Page and tell us what makes your senior pet unique and wonderful!