Give seniors a chance

Older dogs and cats are wonderful choices for adoptions.
Older dogs and cats are wonderful choices for adoptions. Getty Images/iStockphoto

I am totally thrilled about how this New Year is beginning. My nonprofit animal welfare group, Central Georgia CARES, is off to a wonderful start and has planned a promising year ahead to help animals and people who need us.

In addition to the important focus on spay and neuter, we also have a strong emphasis on adopting pets from local shelters. There never seems to be an end to the number of wonderful, healthy, loving pets waiting for someone to walk up to their kennels and take them home forever.

It seems at each shelter there is always a mix of young puppies and kittens and older dogs and cats available. Both young and old are desperate for love and equally eager to return truly unconditional love to someone who will care for them and be kind to them.

There are incredible gems at each shelter. Pets who each have distinctive characteristics and unique personalities are ready to bust through the chains of the kennels into the arms of new families, but none more so than the older dogs and cats.

You see, I’ve always been a strong proponent of adopting senior pets. Those sweet creatures with quite a bit of age and experience, who, for whatever reason, find themselves homeless at a stage in life when they are typically the least marketable to people interested in adding a furry family member. And if they’ve been homeless a while they may also appear hopeless, which is typically even less appealing to a potential family.

At most shelters older pets are usually passed over by potential adopters. It seems only natural that people looking for pets are drawn to the little fuzzy, adorable, playful puppies and kittens. All the while, older pets that have the same intense desire to end their loneliness and homelessness watch repeatedly from a distance as babies are quickly adopted.

I’m sure an older pet is happy each time a baby finds a home. I know I would be.

At the same time, though, his heart hurts for being left behind once again. If only he could tell potential adopters about himself rather than letting his time worn body that has struggled to survive on its own tell the story for him.

Maybe if people knew his tired arthritic joints have spent many years scavenging for food never certain where the next meal would come from they would be more willing to give him a chance. They might be a little more understanding of why he devours his food realizing he’s afraid someone will take it away from him and he doesn’t know when he will eat again.

And maybe if people understood he might be a little nervous at first because he’s been shooed away and run off so many times before on the streets. So he might need a little time to learn to trust again.

Besides, he’s in the shelter now because someone somewhere at some point let him down in the past. He knows betrayal. But he is so eager to love, trust and flourish again if someone will just give him a chance.

If you’re thinking about adding a pet to your family, please consider an older one. You already know what he will look like and how big he will be.

Stop in at any of the local municipal facilities like animal shelters in Macon-Bibb, Warner Robins, Jones or Monroe counties to see the older pets. Or visit Save A Pet in Forsyth to see wonderful older dogs waiting to be chosen.

Give an elderly pet a chance. You won’t regret it.

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