As animal shelter employees, we see the struggle older pets have trying to get adopted. The Labrador Retriever with the gray muzzle wagging his tail gently is overlooked because the puppy next door is rolling around with his sibling. The tabby cat watching everything and everyone is ignored because the younger cat next door is chasing a toy around her kennel. Puppies and kittens are cute and loveable and so much fun. They are also hard work - feeding, potty training, teaching them what not to chew on…. They need constant monitoring and a lot of training. Senior animals are just as sweet and loveable and fun.
November is Adopt a Senior Pet Month. Senior animals make great pets. Senior dogs are already potty trained and on a regular cycle of relieving themselves. Both senior dogs and cats do well by themselves for longer periods of time. With senior pets, there is not teething or chewing phase. They know what chew toys and scratching posts are. Most of them already know what “no” means. Personality, size, and energy level are known. They seem to understand they are getting another chance at love and are grateful for it. They will be a most loyal companion.
Many people pass on adopting senior pets thinking there will be more medical bills. Puppies and kittens have many immediate medical bills as they need multiple shots and surgery. All pets, regardless of age, need annual exams, inoculations, tests, preventative medication and dental care. There is no guarantee of which animal gets a disease or illness; that has nothing to do with age.
Andy Kunasek, Chairman of the Board of Supervisors, asks people to consider adopting a senior animal. “No matter how many years are left in a senior animal, there is plenty of time for love,” he said.
A senior pet could very well be the sweetest animal you’ve even known. Give them a well-deserved second chance and you’ll be rewarded with devotion, love and gratitude. Next time you visit a shelter, stop and spend a minute with that Labrador Retriever with the frosted muzzle and see if he doesn’t offer you the world. November 12 – 27, dogs five years and older are $17. Cats a year and older are free. Senior citizens (65+) can adopt a dog for $6. The price covers spay or neuter surgery, rabies vaccination, and dog license. For more information, visit www.pets.maricopa.gov or call 602-506-7387.