I admit it…I am having a senior moment! Did you know that any dog or cat over the age of seven is considered a senior? This means that shelters are filled with amazing senior pets ready for a new life. From personal experience, I can tell you that adopting an older pet is a great option for those looking for a new best friend. Here are just a few of the reasons why.
- Predictable – Have you ever heard one of those stories about someone getting a puppy thinking it will be a cute mid-size dog and the puppy keeps growing and growing and growing until it’s the size of a horse? Well, with a senior pet, you never have to worry about that because they are full grown! You will know if the dog loves to run or is a couch potato; shy or exuberant; loves other animals or needs to be an only child. With an older dog or cat these things are easy to asses and determine the right fit for your household. Since I live in an apartment, I needed a relaxed and quiet dog and once I met Pinky, I knew we were a perfect match. She does not need (or want) hours of exercise or require the purchase of a 40 lb. bag of dog food (Yep, we live in a walk up).
- Well Mannered – Not having to deal with puberty has its benefits! I think most of our parents would like to press a fast forward button through our terrible twos and teen years and when you adopt a senior pet, you can do just that! Older pets are usually socialized and are long passed the puppy stage. This means that all those hours spent trying to socialize and train a puppy can be spent relaxing and having fun with your new companion. The teething, search and destroy phase has passed and you won’t be trying to think of a way that those fabulous new Louboutin’s can legitimately be covered by your homeowner’s insurance. No matter how hard you try to protect things a puppy always manages to get its paws on something precious. An older dog can usually be trusted to wander the house without taking a bite out of it.
- Trained – Senior pets usually know basic commands such as sit, stay and no. They also have a longer attention span than puppies, making them easier to train. That old saying “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” just doesn’t hold water. It is also important to mention that senior pets are usually already house broken! With a puppy, say goodbye to that beautiful rug you spent forever picking out – it is a goner. With a mature dog or cat you can sit in a chair cuddling and enjoying its beauty. Senior dogs are also calmer and have less wild energy to burn than a puppy or kitten. For those of us who do not have the time and energy needed to train a puppy, an older animal that shares your maturity level is a good thing.
- Instant Best Friend– With your senior pet, you are ready to go! Instead of waiting for a puppy to grow up, you can do everything you want to right away. You can go on long walks together, play fetch, go to a friend’s or just sit on the couch eating Cheetos and watching TV. A senior dog just wants to be loved and part of the family.
- Saved – As a longtime shelter volunteer, I am sad to say that a lot of people don’t give senior pets a second look. They gravitate towards cute and fuzzy puppies and kittens. Older animals have so much love to give if only given a chance. Open your heart to a senior pet and your life will never be the same. Let’s face it, age doesn’t matter unless you’re cheese!