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Getting a pet is one of the best parts of life. Who doesn’t love having the special warmth and affection that only a happy dog or a snuggly cat can give? While more people are learning how important it is to adopt animals from shelters, there is still a belief that getting a puppy or a kitten is the only way to go. These young animals are usually the first ones chosen of the 7.6 million companion animals that enter shelters every year. Sadly 2.7 million of those potential pets will be euthanized, many of whom are older cats and dogs that get overlooked.
Most people think that you have to get pets as babies in order to train them or build strong relationships. Not only is this untrue, but it also is the reason that the population of senior cats and dogs in shelters is so high. Those that aren’t euthanized can spend years in a cage just hoping a human will consider giving them a home. Many people don’t consider that older pets can bring just as much to your life as young ones, in fact, there are some perks that you can only get with a senior pet.
1. They are Very Mellow and Love to Chill
Much like us humans pets calm down with age. You remember how your cat used to go crazy for the laser pointer and now she rolls her eyes and curls up on the couch? It’s not that they aren’t into you, older pets just don’t need to get crazy every day. So if you have a busy work schedule that leaves you wanting to chill on the couch at the end of the day instead of running around outside playing catch, then you should look into older pets. A fun afternoon in the park now and then is great but in the meantime, your grown-up cat or dog is content to just watch “The Voice” with you.
2. No Surprises Here
You know what you’re getting when you get an older pet. They are fully grown so there will be no surprises if that little-mixed pup turns out to be so big that your plants get knocked over every time his tail wags! Love a cat with long hair? Great! You can see her coat in all it’s glory in those prime years. But if that isn’t conducive to your family, you won’t be surprised later when your kitten needs a serious brushing every two days and you have to buy stock in lint rollers. Plus, you can see the personality of your older pet when you meet and see if you guys are a love match instead of realizing later that you were hoping for a different kind of relationship!
3. Training is Taken Care of
A lot of people think that older shelter animals are there because they have behavior issues or did something that led to them being abandoned. But they can be there for so many other reasons such as when people move to a home that can’t accommodate them, have a child who has allergies, are no longer able to afford them, etc. Many people don’t give enough consideration to the fact that getting a pet is a commitment that can go anywhere from 10 to 20 years! So, many senior shelter animals have already lived in homes and socialized with humans and sometimes other animals. These pets have already learned how to use a litterbox, walk on a leash and come when you call. And that saying “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” is just a cute phrase for humans who don’t want to change because adult pets are able to be trained by using the same methods of consistency and rewards as young ones.
4. Every Moment Counts
Your pet may have had other families but you will probably be the last. We can never know what it’s like to move homes or spend time in shelters but we can assume it’s confusing and scary for pets. You will have the important job of making it all worth it when you provide your senior pet with a home filled with love so that they can truly enjoy their twilight years.
There are so many animals out there that need a home. If you are considering adding a pet to your family make sure you consider all that goes into being a pet parent. Most of all keep your mind and your heart open and you may find that your perfect companion isn’t what you expected!
Lead image source: Annette Shaff/Shutterstock