If you’re ready to adopt a pet, consider an older shelter animal. They still have a lot to offer. | Entertainment/Life

A shelter can be a very stressful environment for any animal, but especially for older ones. Too often, the elderly are turned over to shelters once their age begins to show or their health begins to decline.

Many seniors in shelters are overlooked for adoption, as families often come to pick up a young dog or puppy. I, on the other hand, would take a senior rather than a high-maintenance pup any day of the week!

I have had senior dogs for seven years now and have been saddened to lose three in the last four years. My current dogs are 15 and 12 years old. We adopted Roméo at 10 years old, and he has been in our family for two years now. He is still as brave as any young puppy.

Don’t get me wrong: the challenges come with caring for an older pet, but it’s just a different set of challenges than younger dogs.

The label “senior” does not mean “old”. Most senior pets are very active and can provide many years of companionship to someone who wants to give them a chance. While dogs and cats are often considered seniors when they reach 7-9 years old, small breeds can live 16-20 years. Larger dogs have shorter lifespans, but some live well into adolescence with proper care.

Although they are no longer cute puppies, they will no longer chew your shoes, bark at anything and anyone, wake you up at all hours of the night, or jump up on your guests. .

Make good matches

Senior pets can also be great companions for seniors. Often seniors seek the company of a pet, but a puppy or kitten may not be the best option due to their energy level and amount of care needed. Puppies can quickly grow into large, strong dogs that need training and, depending on their size, a strong master.

An adult dog is long past the chewing and barking stage and will likely have a manageable energy level for an older person. Most are happy to lounge on the couch and take nice afternoon walks.

A lot of advantages

Pets are also good for your health. A dog owner is likely to go outside more and walk regularly to exercise their pet. Pets also provide a natural mental health boost. The company of a pet is especially beneficial for someone who may live alone or not get out much to interact socially.

A pet is a natural conversation starter with neighbors when you walk around. We met our great friends on the street because our dogs love to visit their Bichon, Louie, when he walks too.

In an effort to find homes for senior pets, many shelters and rescue centers in our area offer special adoptions for seniors, called “fospice” adoptions, where older pets are placed in a foster home. reception/hospice. The organization provides medical care, while the foster family provides all the necessities and a loving environment for the rest of the animal’s life.

Please consider adopting or fostering an older pet. Older pets shouldn’t have to spend their golden years in a noisy, stressful shelter. Every shelter has seniors who are neglected for young pets, and they yearn for a home with a soft pillow to rest their head on and a family to love them. I can attest that being a dog mother for the elderly is very rewarding.


NOV. 4: From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Metairie Bank will partner with the Louisiana SPCA to find permanent homes for homeless animals. Pet Adoption Day will be held in the parking lot of the bank’s main office at 3344 Metairie Road in Metairie. There will also be gifts and refreshments.

NOV. 5: The Inner Pup is hosting a Heartworm and Flea Prevention Clinic from 1-2:30 p.m. at the Crown of Life Lutheran Church, 11721 Morrison Road in New Orleans. The Inner Pup is a non-profit organization whose goal is to eradicate heartworm disease and provide veterinary services to pet owners who otherwise could not afford it. TIP also offers a dog training program, with vouchers available. More information: theinnerpup.org; [email protected]

NOV. 6: Animal Rescue New Orleans will join the anniversary celebration of Tutti Frutti Frozen Yogurt, 9029 Jefferson Highway in River Ridge, from 2-5 p.m. for a fundraiser and dog adoption event. There will be raffles, vendors and fun activities for the kids. Tutti Frutti donates 20% of each purchase to ARNO. For more information, [email protected].

Traci D. Howerton is the volunteer coordinator of Animal Rescue New Orleans, a volunteer-based nonprofit shelter. For more information about ARNO, visit animalrescueneworleans.org.

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