Millions of dogs and cats are surrendered to shelters every year, and for those who are a bit older, it can be even harder for them to find adoptive homes. The reasons senior pets end up in shelters can vary: Sometimes their guardian becomes ill or passes away and sometimes they can’t afford the medical expenses associated with a senior. And sadly, some senior pets end up at the shelter because their guardians want a younger dog, or they don’t want to deal with medical expenses or watching their pet get old. Whatever the reason is, it’s heartbreaking to think of what goes through a pet’s mind as they’re dropped off at an unfamiliar place, left behind by the only family they’ve ever known.
But behind the graying fur, clouded eyes and wobbly, arthritic legs is a beautiful soul with a story to tell — and more love to give than you can possibly imagine. Those brief moments where they get bursts of puppy – or kitten –like energy warms our hearts and bring a smile to our face, and the gentle snuggles they give are the best therapy ever. And when the time comes to say goodbye, we thank them through a steady flow of tears for the beautiful gift they’ve given us; one far more valuable than anything we could ever give them in return.
These organizations see the beauty in senior dogs and are working to make sure they have the best life possible. Through their work, pets who once had nobody will know love for the remainder of their time, no matter how long that might be.
1. Susie’s Senior Dogs
Susie’s Senior Dogs/Facebook
Susie’s Senior Dogs was founded after Brandon Stanton — a photographer who started the “Humans of New York” blog— adopted a scruffy, 11-year-old Chihuahua mix named Susie. Inspired by Brandon’s experience adopting Susie, his girlfriend, Erin O’Sullivan, started a Facebook page called “Susie’s Senior Dogs” to help draw attention to the plight of senior dogs in shelters. The organization’s Facebook page now has over 550,000 followers and serves as a platform to help senior pets find adoptive homes.
Animals in shelters across the U.S. are featured, complete with an adorable photo and bio that helps highlight their personality. By sharing these adoptable seniors with such a large number of followers, they’re helping more pets get noticed— and adopted. The page also shares adoption successes and honors pets who have passed away. Sadly, Susie passed away recently, but her legacy lives on in the animals who find loving homes through Susie’s Senior Dogs.
2. The Grey Muzzle Organization
The Grey Muzzle Organization/Facebook
While they don’t operate a physical shelter or rescue dogs, The Grey Muzzle Organization is working to provide shelters, rescue organizations and other nonprofits with the tools they need to help senior pets. Through grants, they help fund projects like providing orthopedic beds for arthritic pups in shelters, and providing medical assistance to people and shelters in need. They even help fund in-home hospice programs for senior dogs, giving them a chance to live their final days in the comfort of a foster’s home.
The Grey Muzzle Organization has helped senior dogs across the U.S. by relieving some of the financial burden nonprofits experience when caring for sick or elderly pets. In 2016, they provided grants to almost 40 nonprofits, making it possible for an organization in Virginia to start a physical therapy program for senior dogs, an organization in New Orleans to fund a hospice program, and a beagle rescue in Arizona to receive much-needed financial support for medical costs.
3. Muttville Senior Dog Rescue
Muttville Senior Dog Rescue/Facebook
Based in San Francisco, California, Muttville Senior Dog Rescue is a rescue organization that helps find adoptive homes for senior pets in need, and provides foster-based hospice care for those who are unable to be adopted. The organization was founded by Sherri Franklin, a passionate animal advocate who understood the need to focus on senior pets, especially those waiting in shelters.
In addition to working to save animals locally — either from area shelters or by owner surrender — they help educate people about senior dogs by providing information about senior dog health, nutrition, hospice care, and resources for financial help with veterinary expenses. They also have an adoption program that helps pair senior pets with senior humans, waiving the adoption fee to make it more affordable for those on a limited income.
Benefits of Adopting a Senior Pet
Senior dogs and cats are often overlooked in shelters, but doesn’t every pet deserve to have a family all their own, especially in their golden years? We certainly think so. Senior pets bring a calm and loving presence into your home; they’re the perfect cuddle companion and you usually don’t have to worry about them getting into any mischief while you’re away. They also make a perfect companion for someone who’s retired or prefers a calmer lifestyle. Here are a few OGP articles to help you get started on your search for the perfect senior companion.
- 6 Things You Need to Know About Caring for a Senior Dog
- 4 Heartwarming Perks of Adopting a Senior Pet
- Why You Should Consider Adopting a Senior Dog
- Simple Ways You Can Help Make Life Easier and More Comfortable for Your Senior Dog
Lead image source: The Grey Muzzle Organization/Facebook