Looking for new forever friend; consider adopting a senior pet

Looking for new forever friend; consider adopting a senior pet
Eight-year-old Hercules (A2068314) and 7-year-old Lilo (A1472994) recently celebrated their birthdays with some Miami-Dade Animal Services volunteers.

Thinking about getting a pet? You should.

Having a pet can help your mental and physical wellbeing, as well as give you an overall better quality of life. But when you go select that new pet, please adopt, don’t shop.

When adopting, most people will gravitate to the puppies and kittens. Sadly and too often, senior dogs and cats linger in the shelters. Even a 4-year-old can be considered a senior pet who will have a much harder time finding a new family, even though that pet still has plenty of loving years left.

Experience has its benefits. Sometimes senior dogs and cats can make the best companions. There a number of good reasons to consider going against the grain and adopting a senior pet.

Seven great reasons to open your heart to a senior pet:
1. You can skip the growing pains. No need for housebreaking and training when you choose an older pet. Age comes with experience, and experience has its benefits. Many seniors already are house trained and it only takes a day or two to help them learn the potty rules in their new home.

2. Older dogs have manners. Unlike puppies, many grown-up dogs have spent years living with a family and being socialized to life with humans. They may have received obedience training and respond to commands like “sit,” “stay,” and “down.”

3. Senior pets are less destructive. Most older adopted pets are well past the search-and-destroy phase. You don’t need to worry so much about finding your favorite pair of shoes or a table leg chewed beyond recognition or your furniture scratched to shreds. Chances are your senior kitty has no urge to overturn your potted plant or mark his territory in every room of your home.

4. What you see is what you get. There are no unexpected surprises on how big they might get, what color their adult coat will be, or whether they will be healthy. A senior pet comes to you with their own history, which makes their future much more predictable than that of an 8-week-old puppy or kitten.

5. You can teach an old dog new tricks. If your adopted older pet needs to learn a few things in their new life with you, not to worry. Adult pets can focus on the task at hand (unlike many of their much younger counterparts). Enroll them in an obedience class, contact a trainer, or go the do-it-yourself route. Older pets are more attentive than puppies and kittens. They are more eager to please their humans.

6. Older pets are relaxing to hang out with. Older dogs and cats have all the basics down and aren’t full of wild energy to burn. Because you are not constantly chasing around or cleaning up after your older pet, you have a lot more time to spend finding fun things to do or just relaxing together.

7. Adopted senior pets are grateful for your kindness. Somehow, older pets seem to know you gave them a second chance when no one else would. Many new senior pet owners form a close bond very quickly with their senior dog or cat because the pet shows them a level of attention and devotion that is unique to older adopted animals.

You can be a hero to a deserving dog or cat. Almost without exception, people who adopt older animals feel a special sense of pride and purpose in opening their heart to a hard-to-place senior pet. Doing a good thing really does make you feel good.

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