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Everyone loves baby animals — they are new to the world, usually fluffy and adorably uncoordinated. However, we shouldn’t forget about elderly animals that still need loving homes, and who tend to make up the majority of animals in shelters.

Older animals can end up in shelters for a number of reasons. Sometimes, their original owners passed away, or sadly moved where they could not take them.

According to Petfinder, 24 percent of shelters say that finding homes for older or senior animals is the most difficult. So, if you’re looking for a new addition to your family, here’s five great reasons that adopting a senior pet is a pretty awesome idea.

1. They’re sure-fire, friendly fits for your family.

 

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Rikki’s Refuge / Flickr

A senior pet’s personality has already developed so you’ll know if they are a good fit for you and your family. The shelter will be able to tell you about your new pet’s full history, including their likes, dislikes, and general temperament, more than they could about a younger animal. You’ll also know just how big they’ll get, their grooming needs, and usual routine.

2. They’re polite house companions.

 

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OakleyOriginals / Flickr

Many older animals already know household etiquette like using a litter box, or knowing the difference between a chew toy and a shoe. They’ve most likely had experience living with people before, perhaps for years, and they will be able to adjust to life in their new home faster than a young animal. Dogs especially can tend to be less destructive than a puppy because they have all of their adult teeth and may not feel the need to chew as much as a puppy. They also have a fully developed bladder and won’t need to go outside every few hours. Of course, they will still love a walk with their new friend!

3. They’re major snuggle buddies.

 

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John A. Ross / Flickr

Older animals are typically calmer than their younger counterparts. They’ve “been around the block” and many say they feel their older pet is extra thankful to be in a loving home again. Give your new elderly friend some extra snuggle time each day, and both of you will be happy.

4. They’ll save your life after you save theirs.

 

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BobMacInnes / Flickr

Adopting a senior pet can save a life. In shelters, puppies, kittens, and other younger animals are usually the first to get adopted. It’s a sad truth that in some overcrowded shelters, an elderly dog has a lower chance of surviving than a puppy does. But if you do choose to adopt an older pet, you won’t be disappointed as they’ll add more love and new energy to your life.

5. They’re quick learners.

 

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Despite the old adage, older animals really can learn new tricks. Older dogs have a longer attention span and tend to be calmer, meaning they can take in more of what you are teaching them. They also have had lots of experience interacting with humans and getting to know what their behaviors mean. So don’t assume that an older animal in a shelter is there for behavioral issues, they need love just as much as the young ones!

Image source: Yukari / Flickr

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