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Adopt an older pet

Everyone is immediately drawn to the puppies and kittens when they think of adopting a new pet for their family. Yes, they are cute and cuddly and promise a long life as your companion. But a puppy or kitty is not always the right choice for everyone or every family. They require a lot of attention and patience to teach them what they need to know to get through that first year or two. They are high energy and need a lot of exercise and early socialization.

Some dogs or cats are considered older at just three years of age. They are not senior, but older than the puppy/kitten stage and can be the best pet for your lifestyle and activity level. They are just as adorable and lovable as puppies/kittens, but can save you a lot of the early frustrating days and they often come with amazing qualities that pets take years to develop. Remember Charlie was adopted when he was at least ten years old. And Buddy we estimate to have been six when he joined out family. And who remembers my Petey? He was adopted at ten years or older, lived five years with me and was an outstanding therapy dog.

For dog breeds that have long life spans, such as poodles or other smaller breeds, adopting a dog at four or five still provides you with years of enjoyment and companionship. And you know what the dog’s personality, activity level, or special needs are. Your relationship will grow even stronger as you realize you gave this dog a loving home at a most important stage n his life. And cats can often live to twenty years of age.

The top ten rewards of adopting an older pet include:

  1. They have an enormous amount of love to give

  2. You may be their last chance at a real home and they will be forever grateful

  3. They still snuggle, cuddle, kiss and love with abandon

  4. They will reward with boundless devotion

  5. They have learned many lessons, even if you need to reinforce them upon their arrival in your home. The learning curve has been established already.

  6. They are usually housebroken, but be prepared for a step back at first as they become familiar with their new surroundings

  7. They do not have the puppy/kitty issues such as chewing, teething, or jumping and are usually easier to teach new tricks and behaviors

  8. If you have other pets in the house who are older, bringing a young pet into the mix is not always the best idea. Yes, a younger pet will bring playfulness to your seniors, but so will a slightly older new addition to your family.

  9. Often a puppy/kitty can disturb and threaten your older pet, so consider a new pet over two or three years of age when adding to your pack.

  10. Older pets naturally ease into new surroundings and find the coziest place in the home for themselves. They want to watch the action and settle in more quickly to the existing routine of the house.


Older pets are perfect for older adoptees. Their pace and life stage blends well with an older person who has the time and dedication to offer.


And most importantly, older pets are in abundance in our shelters and adoption centers today. These dogs and cats are used to living with a family in a home and need our help because they are often the last to be chosen and the first to be euthanized.


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