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  • Writer's pictureTraci Wilkerson Steckel

Adopt a Senior Pet Month

What, is the picture deceiving? Nope! This puppy is now going to be 18 in less than 4 months! So it's pretty fair to say that for every baby pet you adopt, there will surely be a senior pet in your future.

When you are considering adopting a new pet, always keep in mind that all adorable babies grow up into adults, and eventually like you, will age into greying seniors.

Although a lot of us simply cannot resist the adorable faces of kittens and puppies, we know that many animals dumped in our shelters are senior pets by people for a variety of reasons. Here are a few examples that we’ve heard, and some things our founder would like you to consider:

My dog just doesn’t play like he used to.

Well like people, when animals age they lose some of their energy. They also have a tendency to have more health issues like arthritis and possibly have an underlying illness you should have checked out. It’s amazing what a little bit of pain meds or glucosamine can do for a senior dog’s activity level. Be sure to take him into the vet and have his senior wellness exam to keep track of his health.

My cat is getting too expensive.

Man, do I feel your pain. Between Lexi and Emee, we have been to the vet a million times lately! That’s where the “whole picture” needs to be considered when you are still in the thought process of adopting a pet. Cats can live into their 20’s and have a myriad of health issues like failing kidneys, hypoglycemia, have dental trouble, among other things. These issues usually require medication and or prescription food, and increased doctor appointments... which equates to dollar signs. You need to think about this stage of a pet’s life before you adopt, to make sure you can commit to a lifetime of responsibility and possible financial woes of caring for your pet.

Your only living parent has just passed away and you can’t keep their old dog.

One way we can prevent people bringing in pets due to owners passing away, is to create a plan early on. Chances are you will outlive your beloved pet, but if not, you will know exactly where it will go if you pass before him. Some rescue organizations have lifetime care programs that allow you to gift them a donation and they will care for your pet for the duration of its life. You can also put your pets into your will, and have a friend or relative care for him after you’re gone.

When I look at this near 18-year-old face, I just melt. I got our sweet Lexi when she was just 5 weeks old, her very first picture the first day we met is up at the top of this blog. I’ll be honest. When I was 22, I never thought about the day that she would be a senior. Now as a true adult, I realize that I love her even more because I appreciate everything she’s done for me.

Lexi has helped me through numerous breakups and experienced all but one relationship in my adulthood. She’s travelled all over the country with me, and even moved from Texas to California when she was only a year old. She has been my best friend and I cannot imagine life without her.

For every puppy or kitten you adopt, there will be a lifetime of memories and love that you will share. Like marriage, pets are to be cared for in the good times and in the bad, and not to be discarded when they slow down, or get too expensive. I hope that when you are considering adopting a pet you will not only consider the lifetime of responsibility each pet comes with, but also consider adopting a senior pet. Let’s give these old pals another chance at life and let them know that they are still loved.

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