10 Reasons to Adopt a Senior Pet
Our family dog, Kelly, was 17-years-old when we finally had to put her down. I was in high school at the time and I remember thinking, “Wow. These last few years with Kelly have been really, really amazing.”
See, by her senior years Kelly was wise in her ways, and skilled at the kind of tricks that take years to perfect. There are a lot of reasons why senior pets are absolutely amazing (and why you should definitely consider looking for one if you’re thinking of adopting), but these are just a few of my favorite:
1. They’re already housebroken.
I doubt anyone has ever brought home a puppy for the first time and said, “Yay! Now I get to house train her! That’s half the fun!” If you bring home a senior pet to your family, chances are she’s already housebroken, which means you can skip right to the fun part of spoiling her rotten.
2. They come with tricks.
When you adopt an older pet, you might be surprised by the tricks he already knows. Sit. Stay. Heel. Those might all be old hat for your senior pet. One thing’s for sure though—finding out what he already knows really will be half the fun!
3. They’re not a handful.
Senior pets are much, much easier to train and have around than younger ones are. They need less of your time and attention (although they of course love all the time and attention you’re willing to give them!), they’re easier to teach and they’re less likely to chew on and ruin things, like your shoes or your furniture.
4. They’re perfect for the less active set.
Senior pets need less exercise and play time than younger animals do, so if you’re not a huge fan of taking multiple walks a day, if the kids are grown and out of the house or if you’d just prefer a companion to hang out and chill with you as opposed to running around 24/7, then a senior pet could be for you.
5. They’ve probably been socialized.
Older animals from the shelter have most likely been socialized and have spent plenty of time with both other dogs, people, and sometimes even other animals. You should always ask to be sure your new animal has been socialized with other animals if you happen to have another pet at home, but if it’s a senior animal you’re looking to give a good home to, odds are he most likely will have.
6. There will be fewer guesses.
With older pets, what you see is basically what you get. Spend a little time assessing the animal’s temper, mood and personality before you adopt him, and you can rest assured that what you see in the few hours you spend with him at the shelter will most likely be exactly how he’ll act for the rest of his life. Plus, you know exactly how big he’ll get. No more growing! Now there’s a plus!
7. Senior pets are cleaner.
Sure it’s fun to watch a puppy splash around in the mud and dirt—but then you have to clean it all up after the fun is over. Older animals, and especially cats, have their mischievous, mess-ridden days behind them, and they’re happier to stay clean, warm and safe with their owners.
8. Adult cats know how to use their litter box.
If you’ve ever had a kitten before, you know what surprises you are in for, finding little puddles and nuggets your ball of fluff has left wherever she pleases, since she hasn’t quite figured out how to use a litter box yet. That’s not an issue with senior cats. Adult cats tend to keep cleaner, tidier litter boxes, which makes your house cleaner and tidier as well.
9. You’ll most likely be saving a life.
Let’s be honest—an older dog that’s left at a shelter has less of a chance for adoption than does a young, adorable little puppy. Think of it this way: when you take a senior pet home with you, you could honestly be saving its life.
10. You’ll feel really good about yourself.
On top of the time you’ll save in training and from cleaning up after the mess younger animals can leave, when you adopt a senior pet, you’ll know you’re doing something really good. An older pet will be so happy and grateful; he’ll most likely be the most loyal pet you’ll ever have.
And that should count for all the reasons in the world to get one.
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