Want a pet but don’t have the time or inclination to train and socialize a puppy or kitten? Consider adopting an older pet. Here are some advantages.
* No surprises: Adult pets are full-grown with established personalities, so it’s easier to find the right pet for you and your lifestyle.
* Highly trainable: Surprised? In fact, older pets are calmer and, therefore, better at focusing on you and the task at hand.
* Accommodating and affectionate: Older pets adjust to new homes quickly and form strong bonds with their new families.
* Well-behaved: Most adult pets come with good manners and are house-trained. If not, they have the physical and mental abilities to learn quickly.
* Calm, cool and collected: Although older pets are often playful, they also like to relax, hang out and enjoy the good life.
* Feel-good investment: Save a life and get an unparalleled emotional return on your investment. Older pets at animal shelters and rescues are often the last to be adopted and the first to be euthanized. Adopting older pets is truly the gift of life. They know it and are grateful to those who adopt them.
Happy Tails: Over the years, Kent and Tanya Rogne have provided loving care for many senior dogs in their Applegate home. Most recently, they adopted Brandy, age 10, and Shiloh, 9.
Brandy and Shiloh had lived in a loving and comfortable home until their owner died and they were surrendered to the city of Sacramento’s Front Street Animal Shelter. Manager Gina Knepp observed, “Clearly a bonded pair and shocked to find themselves in a shelter, we really wanted to keep them together.”
Kent and Tanya saw the dogs on the shelter’s Facebook page. After contacting Knepp, they came to the shelter with nametags for both dogs despite not having met them. Knepp said, “They also brought a photo album of their home and existing dogs to show us where Brandy and Shiloh would be living.”
Brandy and Shiloh now live with Kent and Tanya and their five other dogs — Fierra, 14, a black Lab, and Dalmatians Andy, 3; Buster, 10; Sarah, 14; and Hydie, 10.
Kent writes, “They are doing well …. Brandy is getting spoiled! She sees me sneaking treats in the middle of the night to the others. She has a great sense of smell, and tracks me down to get her fair share. … They learn so fast!”
A couple of years ago, Kent wrote the following poem explaining from the senior dog’s point of view why rescue matters.
I was abandoned by my previous family. I would have died if not for you.
I would have given up on life if not for your kind eyes and heart.
I would have used my teeth in fear, if not for your gentle hands.
I would have left this life believing that humans don’t care.
Believing that there is no such thing as fur that isn’t matted, or skin that isn’t flea-bitten … nor good food to eat or enough of it.
A bed to sleep on, and someone to love me just because I exist.
Your kind eyes, your loving smile, your gentle hands, your big heart saved me.
You saved me from the terror of the local pound
Soothing away the scary memories of my old life.
You taught me what it means to be loved again.
— Evelyn Dale of Davis is a volunteer and advocate for shelter animal welfare; her column is published monthly. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org