By Bethe Almeras
She was nine years old when she adopted me — for that really is the way it happened. She gave me no option but to open my heart and home to her and love her. Six and a half pounds of affection, silliness, quiet confidence, and just a touch of sass. I was lucky enough to have 10 years with my darling Tabby cat, Peepy Rose, before cancer came to our door.
Do I wish I would have had more time with her? Of course. Would I have traded my time with her for potentially more years with a younger cat? Not for a second.
November is Adopt a Senior Pet Month (#AdoptaSeniorPetMonth), and as I write this post, there are countless mature and senior animals in shelters across the country waiting for homes. Through no fault of their own, these animals are typically the hardest to place, even though they are often easier to train and a better lifestyle or energy-level match for a lot of people or families looking to adopt. It can be hard for people to look past the number or to get the notion of a puppy or kitten out of their head, but in doing so they miss out on amazing animals that would add so much to their lives.
You will find countless articles on the web with reasons to adopt senior pets; I’ve even written a senior cat post here before. Like people, pets come in all sorts of packages and ages. When you adopt a pet, you are not only bringing home a new member of your family, but you are bringing home a confidant and dear friend. Their packaging should matter little; their heart and soul should matter in spades.
If you’ve never considered adopting a senior pet I encourage you to do so. There is something about adopting an older animal that just can’t be described – they bring a sweetness to life and an appreciation to your relationship that can’t be replicated. And please don’t be afraid to open your heart to a senior pet.
Yes, you will often have less time in the long run with them, but it will be worth it. You will have a wonderful time together and a lifetime of memories and a senior pet will get the loving retirement they deserve. And adopting a younger animal is not a guarantee. Any animal lover can tell you that illness and accidents take even the youngest pets from us too soon. For our beloved pets, no matter when they go, it will ALWAYS be too soon. So don’t miss out on something great, just because it might be shorter than you would like.
So this month, or the next or the one after that, visit your local animal shelter or rescue group and meet the senior sweeties looking for a home. Think about how much fun you two will have together and all the good snuggles that are ahead. Find the little heart (or two!) that speaks to your heart and take them home. If you are in the DC area, make sure to check out the adorable adoptables at WHS!
Not in the position to adopt an animal right now, senior or otherwise? That’s OK — be an advocate for senior shelter pets instead! Help spread the word about Adopt a Senior Pet Month. Petfinder has some great videos and other resources you can share. The grey muzzles of the world thank you!