Posted by: secondchancehumanesociety | November 19, 2008

Adopt a Senior

Bandit - Senior Author

Bandit - Senior Author

Aside from being Peanut Butter Lovers Month and National Model Railroad Month, November is Adopt-A-Senior Month!  My name is Bandit and, as the senior dog (about 10 or so years old) here at the Second Chance Shelter, I am promoting the benefits of adopting senior pets like me.   For example, consider that senior pets, as opposed to younger pets, typically already know how to live harmoniously with humans. In general, adult dogs and cats require far less supervision and less constant care, which can make them ideal companions for people with busy lives.  And we are already litter box or house trained.

To further promote adopting a senior I will challenge some inaccurate myths about senior pets in hopes that you will realize that adopting an older pet has many positive benefits (disclaimer – this information is generalized and thus should be considered with the understanding that there are plenty of exceptions – as pets are very individualized beings):

Myth 1: If you adopt an older pet it will have a shorter life and you will have to grieve sooner when it dies.

Truth:  There are no guarantees for the lifespan of any aged pet you adopt.  Additionally, dogs and cats can live healthfully for 15+ years and every day with us can create a lifetime of memories.  The important thing is that the time we have together will be richly rewarded by love, connection, and companionship.

Myth 2:  You can’t teach older pets new tricks.

Truth: Older pets are just as capable of responding to training as younger ones – and often times, because of our wisdom and life experiences, train more readily.

Myth 3:  Senior pets require more care.

Truth:  Senior pets are more mellow, accepting, and require less physical activity than younger pets, thus typically making us pretty low maintenance and the perfect match for an older person seeking friendship and love or in a full-time working household.  We often make excellent companions for other animals as well.

Myth 4: Puppies and kittens are cuter than older dogs and cats.

Truth:  Puppies are not so cute when they are pooping in your boots and eating your new skis, nor are kittens so cute when they prefer your plants to the litter box or decide your curtains make great swingsets…

Myth 5:  Older pets lack personality.

Truth: As with humans, our exuberance for life becomes more internalized than externalized and our personalities expand in other directions, such as our increasingly calm and peaceful nature.

Myth 6: Senior pets are wise and sensible.

Truth: This is not a myth.

Final truth: if you are looking for a loyal, gentle, deeply loving companion who will never take one gesture of kindness for granted, I am your boy.  Every day spent at the shelter is one day less I can spend with you…

Most importantly, please remember that adopting a pet is a lifetime commitment.  Some families find that life circumstances create obstacles to this commitment.  Without revisiting details of how I became a shelter pet at Second Chance, I strongly encourage all pet parents to act responsibly when such life circumstances arise.  Your pet’s transition from its previous life to becoming adopted into a new family will be that much easier if you communicate directly with your local shelter.  Help them understand why you are unable to keep your pet, what kind of food he likes, his health history and what is special about him.  I forgive you, please give Second Chance a call.


Call the Second Chance Helpline at 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about  the SCHS Spay/Neuter Voucher , Volunteer & Foster Care, or other Programs.  Visit our shelter pets online:  Questions for next week’s column can be sent to:


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