Adopt an older pet to save a life

Adult dogs and cats are usually overlooked in preference of cute little puppies and kittens when people are planning to adopt a new family pet, even though there are so many older cats and dogs awaiting adoption in shelters and foster homes all across the country, and more specifically, all across the CSRA. They wake up each day with the optimistic hope of getting adopted, even though that day might be their very last day on earth. They have been surrendered for many and varied reasons. Some because their guardian passed away and there wasn’t anyone willing to take them in.

adopt-senior-petSome because of allergies, a new baby in the house, loss of a job, children that went off to college; various lifestyle changes. Some because people didn’t consider all of the responsibilities of pet ownership before they adopted a pet. It’s not uncommon for very expensive, well bred and well trained dogs and cats to outlive their ‘usefulness’ or novelty to the person that bought them on impulse, in the first place. That person felt very little, if any responsibility for them, so they surrender them to animal control, knowing that the likelihood of older animals getting adopted is very slim.

Some people don’t understand or accept the responsibility of having a pet. It is imperative that dogs and cats be seen by a licensed vet when they are young, so that they can be evaluated for health issues, checked for parasites and given vaccinations. The law requires that all pets be given rabies vaccinations. Dogs and cats should all be spayed or neutered at the earliest age possible to avoid having more unwanted kittens and puppies, and to prevent many other health issues. Pets should be seen by a vet annually, and whenever any health issue arises. Be sure you are aware of and prepared for the expense of having a family pet before you adopt.

When you are ready to adopt a new family pet, check the local animal control agencies first for older animals. You will be saving a life and gaining a grateful companion. Youngsters-puppies and kittens are the first to get adopted, so seniors are more likely to be euthanized, and are by the thousands.

When you choose an older dog or cat, they are already full grown, and you can see their size and their personalities, so you can tell whether or not they will be a good fit in your home. They are calmer, and don’t need as much monitoring for bad habits. With their teething years behind them, they are less destructive to your household furnishings.

They have been around the block a time or two, and are ready to settle in, get along and be your companion. Though they will still need to be active, they will prefer a leisurely walk over pulling you in a marathon.

Saving a life offers unparalleled emotional return on your investment. You will feel the rewards every day as you spend time with them.

Older cats and dogs will also be good companions for your other pets that may be grieving the loss of their companion. Bringing a kitten or puppy into the home in this situation can be very upsetting to an older pet.

Like people, they have their own personalities and preferences, but respond quickly to a loving home filled with kindness and compassion. Regular meals, a warm bed and an easy smile with a kind touch is all any of us wants.

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