There are always thousands of animals waiting for new homes. Many find new owners very quickly whilst others spend many months in shelters and are continually ignored by potential adopters. It is generally the older animals which are repeatedly overlooked. Senior pets typically wait four times as long as young animals to find a new home.
Potential adopters favour younger pets because they want to enjoy a long relationship with their new friend. This is perfectly understandable but there are big advantages to taking on an older cat or dog.
Excess energy and training
Animal charities frequently endure the frustration of serving owners who take on younger animals only to give up on them when they realise that they cannot cope. Young pets can be boisterous and mischievous. Young dogs require a great deal of exercise and may need training. Busy owners can find that they do not have the time or energy to give the required level of attention to their pets. Ironically, an older animal would often be a more suitable choice.
Laid back lifestyle
Older pets rarely demand round the clock attention and are better equipped to cope with time alone. But they still enjoy playing when their owners have the time to devote to them and so can be extremely rewarding. Older pets are certainly the best option for those who lack energy themselves! They won’t be as destructive and you won’t have to deal with the over-exuberance of a youthful pet.
Older animals are generally house trained which means that they fit seamlessly into your life from the start and do not cause so much frustration. These animals can steal your heart with their winning personalities and will usually settle down quickly into their new routine. An older animal is also less likely to prove provoking to the other pets in the household.
If you are thinking about adopting a cat or dog, then do consider the older animals that you meet. They would be wonderful pets and you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you have offered a home to an animal which might have struggled to find new owners. It can be hard to accept that you won’t have a great deal of time with your new friend but the enormous satisfaction you gain from helping them should be adequate compensation.