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Midlands Humane Society: Celebrate 'Senior Pet Month' this November and beyond
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Midlands Humane Society: Celebrate 'Senior Pet Month' this November and beyond

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There are certain pets that get overlooked in a shelter. Among those on the list are senior pets.

People looking to adopt a new pet may have concerns bringing an older pet into their homes and the care and costs it may entail. How can they possibly fall in love with an older pet only to have it with them just a few months or maybe a few years and then cross the “Rainbow Bridge?” These are all valid concerns.

On the flip side, many people simply find joy in providing a pet in its “Golden Years” all the love and care possible. Providing a comfortable home for a pet in need makes many adopters so happy. What constitutes a senior pet? In both cats and dogs, age seven is generally accepted as the mark to separate young from old. Please know there is so much flexibility in this generalization. Just like humans — genetics, exercise, diet and health/dental care play a huge part in how pets age.

Nicole Hamilton, with Best Friends Animal Society, gives some fantastic reasons to give senior pets a second look at your local animal shelter. She writes, “There’s a very good chance that if you visited your local shelter today, you’d meet a pet who prefers couch cuddling to counter surfing, knows that shoes aren’t for chewing and can help you slow down and enjoy the simpler things in life.

We’re talking about senior pets, of course, and since November is Adopt a Senior Pet month, now is the perfect time head to the shelter to meet a silver-muzzled pet with plenty of love left to give and here’s several reasons why.”

They already know the ropes. With age comes experience and senior dogs typically have had plenty of time to learn how to walk on a leash and hone their social skills with pets and people, and they know that potty time is strictly an outdoor affair. As for senior cats, they’re more than a little familiar with the litter box and have long sorted out whether they prefer flying solo or living among fellow felines.

They’ll help you slow down. We live in such a busy world that it can be hard to find time to relax and recharge. Senior pets, on the other hand, seem to understand the importance of taking it easy.

They’ll go easy on the furniture. From shoes to books to furniture and rugs, everything is fair game to a puppy who thinks chewing is an Olympic sport. Luckily, by the time dogs are older and wiser, they’re well past the destructive phase and have outgrown the desire to chew on things they aren’t supposed to.

They need less supervision. Take your eyes off your newly adopted kitten for just a few seconds and they’ll intercept your Zoom at the speed of light. A senior pet, on the other hand, can remain perfectly content while you work in your home office or even while you leave to run errands.

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You’ll know what to expect. By the time pets become seniors, they’ve had plenty of years to decide what they like (and what they don’t like, too). That means when you adopt pets of a certain age, there are fewer big surprises once you bring them home. For example, a low-key dog you fall in love with at the shelter will likely be just as low-key after he adjusts to a new home.

They have plenty of love left to give. Pets come with a lifetime supply of unconditional love. Take Sam, for example. The sweet senior cat lost his home when he was 20 years young after his person moved to a nursing facility; however, now that he has been adopted, he loves chasing catnip toys and playing with his cat siblings, who are 18 years younger than he is.

It will make them feel good. It’s more difficult for some pets than others to adjust to losing their homes, and senior pets know what they’re missing when they end up in a shelter. Often, all senior pets need is to know that they’re safe and cared for again, and they’ll love you forever. A comfortable bed makes a big difference.

It will make you feel good, too. There’s nothing quite like watching adopted senior pets live happily into their golden years, except knowing that by adopting them you helped open space at the shelter for other seniors ready to spend their golden years in a loving home.

We hope, armed with this information, you’ll consider sharing your home with a “Sassy Senior.”

MHS Pets of the Month are brought to you by Council Bluffs Veterinary Clinic:

Tinker is a 14-year-old spayed female domestic longhair who arrived at MHS in mid-August after her owner passed away. She has successfully lived with other cats and dogs; however, she may prefer a home without children who may disturb her beauty sleep.

Gabby is a lovely 10-year-old spayed female who arrived at MHS in November and Marge is a 10-year-old spayed female domestic longhair who is a little shy but does enjoy human companionship.

Trigger is a big boy who is looking for a quiet home. Not technically a senior, this Lab mix is close at 6-years-old. He can be reactive towards dogs, and strangers while in his kennel but is quite the gentleman when taken out for walks, so he is looking for a house instead of an apartment setting. He would do best with older kids as he prefers more of a laid-back environment and would also prefer to be the only pet.

MHS is open Monday through Friday from noon to 6 p.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is currently closed on Sundays.

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