Guest blog by ASPCA President & CEO Matt Bershadker
There’s no denying that puppies and kittens are hard to resist—just see the reactions to our recent graduation ceremony at the ASPCA Kitten Nursery. But two other undeniable truths deserve even more of our attention: First, older shelter animals are just as loving, loyal and delightful as young ones. Second, senior animals are typically the last to be adopted and the first to be euthanized.
This is why Adopt a Senior Pet Month is so important. Every shelter has older dogs or cats in its care, but stigmas often deprive these animals of the right to be fairly considered.
Some adopters hesitate because they believe older pets are less likely to bond with new owners—this is not the case. While many senior animals have spent years or decades with previous owners, age is not a determining factor in an animal’s affection toward new owners or his/her ability to bond with them at any point. In fact, owners often easily form bonds with older pets due to the animals’ typically calmer dispositions, their familiarity with home environments, their experience dealing with other animals, and previous training.
Other myths about older pets include them being sick, unfriendly, dirty, and unsafe around young children. But none of that can be assumed any more than one would assume it with a newborn pet. Your local shelter or rescue group will be in the best position to assess potential matches, so be sure to ask lots of questions.
Beyond the misconceptions, there are clear benefits to adopting a senior pet. For starters, their behavior is more predictable because their personalities are already well developed. You’ll also know their full-grown size and activity level, and how that might affect your lifestyle.
Senior pets are also easier to train and require less monitoring than puppies or kittens, who sometimes can’t distinguish between a safe situation and a dangerous one. It’s nice to adopt a dog who likely knows what “no” means.
Additionally, senior animals won’t have teething issues and will come into your life already house-trained, meaning they’re less likely to cause destruction in your home—especially if you’re away for long periods. Older pets are also more accustomed to the predictable daytime and nighttime patterns of humans.
Organizations like Susie’s Senior Dogs, Muttville, and The Grey Muzzle Organization work hard to promote senior animals who are at increased risk of euthanasia, but you can play a crucial part by adopting one yourself, as well as by encouraging friends, family and colleagues to do the same. When you adopt an older pet, you’re not only bringing incredible joy into your home, but rescuing an animal that’s very close to peril.
Some inspiring senior success stories include Marnie, a senior Shih Tzu found abandoned and later adopted in 2012; and Arabelle, a senior pit bull rescued from a massive dog fighting operation we helped dismantle in 2013. Both of these dogs were adopted despite these deeply held misperceptions, and each brought as much love, enjoyment, and loyalty into their new homes as would an animal of any age.
Happy Thanksgiving from the ASPCA! We hope that you’re somewhere warm and cozy preparing for a big, delicious meal. But while it’s easy to get lost in thoughts of sweet potatoes and gravy, we also hope that you won’t forget hungry animals on this bountiful holiday.
Though it’s the season of giving, the reality is that animal hunger doesn’t stop during the holidays. In fact, winter is one of the most brutal seasons for homeless and neglected animals, and the ASPCA is working around the clock to provide food for those in need. But we can’t do it by ourselves.
Thanks to donations from animal-lovers all around the country, we have started hay initiatives for hungry horses, provided food and housing for dogs rescued from dog fighting, and granted thousands toward feeding animals in the wake of disasters. This month alone, we will provide nearly 30,000 meals for animals in the ASPCA Adoption Center.
It’s a lot of mouths to feed, but it’s not impossible. We know that animals can count on us when they’re hungry and suffering, and now we hope that we can count on you. This holiday season, give homeless, abused and neglected animals something to be thankful for: Make a donation to the ASPCA today.
This Black Friday, skip the lines and crowds at the mall to meet your new furry best friend instead at the ASPCA’s Fourth Annual Cat Friday! On Friday, November 28, from 11:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M., the ASPCA Adoption Center will be offering very special discounts on cat adoption fees that you won’t want to miss.
On Cat Friday only, cats older than one year will have waived adoption fees, and kittens between four months and one year will have an adoption fee of only $50 (normally $125).
Plus, all adopters will receive a certificate for a free vet visit at the ASPCA Animal Hospital (within two weeks of adoption) and other special goodies, including a free cat collar and ID tag.
ASPCA’s Fourth Annual Cat Friday Date: Friday, November 28, 2014 Time: 11:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M. Location:ASPCA Adoption Center 424 E 92nd Street (between 1st and York Avenues on the Upper East Side of Manhattan) New York, NY 10128
Every ASPCA pet is spayed or neutered, up-to-date on vaccines and even microchipped. If you don’t meet your perfect match on Friday, don’t worry! We’ll give you an appreciation voucher for $20 off of future adoption fees.
Sure, finding that door-buster deal on a new television or the hottest electronic gadget is a short thrill, but the true happiness that comes from saving the life of a homeless animal is a gift that keeps giving for years to come. There are so many wonderful cats and dogs at the ASPCA Adoption Center would love to find their forever homes this holiday—we hope to see you there!
Check out a few of our adoptable cats at the ASPCA who are gearing up for Thanksgiving and Cat Friday!
This Thanksgiving, we have exciting news for shelter pets: the ASPCA has teamed up with Freekibble.com to provide 10,000 meals of Halo Spot’s Stew for animals in one lucky shelter this holiday season. Now through Sunday, December 7, you can enter our “Feed a Shelter” contest by telling us why you love your local shelter and by highlighting the impact your shelter has on your community. Freekibble.com will provide 10,000 meals of Halo pet food to the winning nominated shelter!
There are millions of homeless pets being cared for in shelters nationwide, and many will remain in shelters throughout the holidays. This Thanksgiving, we hope you’ll give homeless pets something extra to be thankful for! Enter the contest today, and spread the word on your social media networks by using the hashtag #feed10k and tagging @ASPCA.
Swiss is an active pup with a whole lot of love to give. This sweet guy is shy at first, but don’t let that fool you—once he warms up, he’ll stick by your side for playtime! Swiss gets along well with other dogs and could make a great best friend to your resident dog.
This sweet guy has plenty of energy and would benefit from daily exercise and playtime with his canine buddies to stay busy, happy and healthy. Although Swiss loves his human companions, he can be nervous when touched. Our Behavior staff can give you tips to help him overcome his fears. Swiss would be thrilled to go home with a patient and experienced adopter. Adopt Swiss today!
Swiss is available for adoption at the ASPCA Adoption Center. If you are interested in adopting, please call our Adoptions Department in New York City at (212) 876-7700 ext. 4120. To learn more about Swiss, please visit his profile page.