Many animal shelters across the country have a program called Seniors for Seniors. It’s designed to help senior dogs (or cats!) find homes (instead of death or shelter living). And it’s designed to help senior citizens get new love companions that fit more easily into their lives than puppies.
If you know of a national organization with this title, please let me know because I couldn’t find one. But I did see the program mentioned at almost every large animal shelter across the nation.
You no longer have to do without a dog in your life!
When a cherished pet dies, you grieve for awhile then get a new one — unless you’re elderly. Then you might worry about or feel guilty about bringing a puppy into your life. What happens to your animals when you die?
But, in my admittedly biased opinion, life without a dog (or a cat) is a diminished life.
The easy answer — adopt a senior dog. There are a lot of wonderful reasons to bring an older dog into your life:
- They slide easier into your life
- No potty training
- You can save them from loneliness and kennel life — because everyone else wants a YOUNG dog (Yes, we know what that is like, right?!)
- They can get you out of the house and exercising (NICE walks, not the craziness of walking puppies!)
- They can add social encounters to your life (walks, again)
- Did I mention no potty training?!
- They can save your life. Dogs alert us to intruders and wake us up if there’s a fire.
How you find such a program
Many animal shelters have the program, so a good first stop would be to check your local animal shelter. There are also wonderful programs that specialize in helping senior dogs, such as:
- SRdogs.com (This is a great place to stop first, as they list a lot of other organizations, plus many local senior-dog-focused programs)
- Paws.org (This link goes to their Seniors for Seniors program)
Here’s what the programs almost all offer
Most of the programs are open to adopters age 60+. Some match adopters with pets age seven and older, while others lower the pet age to four. Almost all reduce adoption fees for seniors — many will waive them entirely. If your local shelter doesn’t have an official program, just ask. Many of them will bend over backward to get senior pets adopted into a loving home.
Just one main drawback in adopting a senior animal
You are likely to experience health problems sooner with them than with puppies and/or kittens. If vet expenses are likely to become a problem, you might want to look into pet health insurance before adopting. Here’s a good place to start, where you will see quality programs and you can check out the costs.
Yes, senior cats are also available for seniors to adopt. They won’t get you out of the house on walks and they probably won’t save your life, but they offer all the other benefits of adopting a dog. Your local shelter is less likely to have cats included in their seniors for seniors program. But many of them will waive adoption fees for senior (age seven and up) cats. Just ask.
While I prefer dogs, there have been some wonderful cats in my life. One of these days I’ll have to post a picture of my kayaking cat who was named, appropriately, Rascal(!)
Marlene Jensen is a 71-year-old full-time marketing professor. Previously she was a VP at CBS and ABC and spent decades as an entrepreneur and pricing author/consultant. Sadly, none of these prepared her for the onslaught of marketers who now think her daily interests/needs consist solely of hearing aids, wheel chairs, adult diapers, medi-alert buttons, medications, and bath tubs you walk into.