Miami animal shelters and Petfinder.com have teamed up to promote awareness of the joys and benefits of bringing a senior dog into your home. With the holidays approaching, shelters are buzzing with people who are looking to buy a puppy for their children, their significant others, or themselves.
While puppies are cute and sweet and irresistible, they do come with a particular set of challenges. Puppies need lots of work, time, training, and toys. You will need to think about puppy-proofing your home, to keep the puppy from getting into dangerous situations or tearing up your expensive designer shoes, toys, and home decor. You must consider the brand new puppy not sleeping through the night, crying, needing to go out every hour or two to pee.
We are asking that you give some careful consideration to bringing home a senior dog for the holidays. “Think of a pet that is already trained and doesn’t chew or scratch everything in sight–a pet who will love you unconditionally,” said Kim Saunders, Petfinder.com’s Director of Public Relations. “That’s what you get when you adopt a senior pet.”
Some people worry that a senior pet comes with problems. Not all dogs in shelters have a sordid past. They were not all raised on the mean streets and they were not all rescued from fighting rings. Most senior dogs are at the shelter because their families were faced with a tough decision at a tough time. Some were abandoned for no reason, some were left suddenly without a family when their human companion got sick or injured or met a sudden end. In fact, according to Hazel Blumberg-McKee of Tallahassee, FL, there are no disadvantages to bringing home a senior dog. “In most cases they’ve had a home and they want one again.” She adopted eight-and-a-half-year old Sadie, and has never regretted it. “An older animal is easier to deal with. And Sadie is still playful. She plays fetch and gallops all over the place.”
At animal shelters and rescue groups everywhere, there are loving, healthy senior pets like Sadie, looking for that one special home to cherish them for the rest of their life, and they don’t ask for much: just a warm place to sleep, good meals and plenty of love.
When I was working at Princeton SAVE, a friend to homeless animals in Princeton, NJ, they used to say that when you bring home a senior dog, they show their gratitude every single day. I know that I saw that in the face of my Webster. He looked so grateful and appreciative every morning when we woke, every day when I got home from work, and every night as he climbed onto my bed.
During Adopt-a-Senior-Pet Month, take the opportunity to get acquainted with the older pets available at our local shelters and rescue groups. Give a dog a home for the holidays, and thank you for making adoption your first option.