Adopting a senior pet can be a life-changing experience. When we talk about senior pets, we want to clarify that this term is most often applied to cats and dogs 7 years or older. People who’ve adopted pets in this category report heart-warming stories of friendship, loyalty and joy. Some even report how an aging cat or dog has changed their lives. If you’re considering an adoption soon, take a moment to read how a senior pet might actually change your life.
Last year, a senior cat named Tara made national news headlines by chasing a dog away after stopping its attack on her 4-year-old owner, Jeremy. Tara springing into action as quickly as she did may have very well saved Jeremy’s life as this video shows the dog viciously attacking Jeremy from behind while he rode his bicycle in front of his home:
For decades, researchers have studied how individuals experience relief from stress when they spend time with pets. Dogs and cats are routinely used for this purpose in hospital settings and by therapists helping people navigate difficult emotional issues. Senior pets, in particular, can be very useful in helping to relieve stress as they tend to be a lot more mellow and well-behaved than younger animals.
All pets provide unconditional love to their owners, but there’s something about an older pet bonding with new family members that makes this connection even more special. When a senior pet has been separated from her original family, that animal experiences a sense of loss and grief like none she has ever known before. Upon being taken in by a new family, the same aging pet is usually so grateful and so relieved to have a home again that she is just overwhelmed with love– a love that she is happy to endlessly share with her new family.
Anyone looking for a loyal friend should consider adopting a senior pet as they are seeking the same. Senior cats and dogs are used to having companionship and feel at a loss without it. Adoption gives you an opportunity to fill a void in an aging pet’s life while simultaneously filling a similar one in your own.
Adopting a senior pet requires that you tap into the most compassionate parts of your being. While most people shopping for a new pet want a kitten or a puppy, those willing to adopt senior pets understand the perils that these animals may face if new homes do not become available. While most are healthy, some older pets do have special needs, such as diet and medications which must be administered daily. Senior pets, therefore, give you the opportunity to nurture another creature with love and compassion, which is always a life-changing experience in the lessons and wisdom that is acquired throughout this process.
A senior pet may go beyond merely changing your life and just might save it, instead. This is precisely what happened when the Baxter family rescued a 7-year-old bull mastiff, Barney, from a shelter. A week after Barney’s adoption, he was instrumental in saving an autistic and diabetic family member who’d collapsed outside in the wee hours of the morning. Barney woke Donna Baxter up at 2:30am and led her to the front door where she was able to look out of the window and find her son lying unconscious in front of their home. Quick thinking on Barney’s part possibly saved Lewis Baxter’s life as his blood sugar levels were dangerously low and his health situation may have been fatal had he not been discovered in time.
When the Jung family of Wisconsin adopted a senior cat named Pudding, they had no idea that they’d opened their home to a furry angel. The very same day that Pudding moved in, Amy Jung had a diabetic seizure while sleeping. After trying unsuccessfully to revive her new owner, Pudding rushed into Amy’s son Ethan’s bedroom to rouse him just in time for him to place a call for help. Today, Pudding is always at Amy’s side and even alerts her when she senses Amy’s blood sugar dropping dangerously low.
Senior pets typically come into a family pre-trained in a lot of areas including house training. Where training a puppy not to use the bathroom indoors can be a trying task, older dogs have already passed this phase with flying colors. A few accidents may still take place during the adjustment period in a new home, but a mature pooch will not need to be house-broken. Once a walking routine is established and the dog is given access to a yard when he needs to go, he’ll do precisely that without needing any further training.
It’s not everyday you get to be a hero in someone’s life. But after adopting an animal that most others would overlook, a hero is exactly what you become. You won’t just be a hero in the animal’s eyes either, but most of your friends, family members and co-workers will look upon your deeds as being noble in nature, too. Who knows? You may even inspire a few others to do the same!
Spaying or neutering a pet is a responsible thing to do. Most owners agree with this, but some still delay taking their fur babies in for the actual procedure. Reasons for this may vary, but let’s just say that some men sincerely struggle with taking beloved pets to a vet for neutering. With a senior pet, though, the deed is usually already done.
There are a number of good reasons why adopting a senior pet can be a life-changing event and we know we’re missing a few. Has a senior pet changed your life? We want to hear all about your experience, so please take a moment to share in the space below.