There is nothing like the sweet soul of an older pet. They have dignity. Decorum. They know who they are and how to act around other pets and people. They’re calm. They don’t pee in your house or eat your shoes. So, while many people think that adopting a senior pet invites trouble; I say they couldn’t be more wrong. Here are a few common myths about adopting an older pet:
1. “If I adopt a senior pet, I’ll be inheriting someone else’s problem.”
There are many reasons (some more valid than others) why people part ways with their pets. Perhaps their previous owner died. Maybe the owner’s situation changed in some other way, like they had to move, fell ill, or lost their job. Many of the reasons for relinquishment are sad, but few are because of the pet itself.
2. “Senior pets will cost me a fortune in veterinary bills.”
Not necessarily. Every pet is different. If the pet has received preventative care up until that point, it may be perfectly healthy. If you’re worried, get a health assessment from a veterinarian before you adopt. That’s good advice no matter the age as puppies and kittens could have health problems just as easily as older dogs and cats.
3. “Senior pets are not trainable.”
The old adage about teaching an old dog new tricks is not true at all. Mature pets may be even more capable of learning “new tricks.” They have more patience and focus. Older pets also come with valuable problem-solving skills gained by experience. It was much easier teaching my mature rescue dog “sit” and “stay,” than it was training my puppy who just wanted to run around and chase her tail. With persistence, pets can be trained at any age.
4. “Senior pets aren’t active or playful.”
If they’re in good health, senior pets can remain active for years to come. It’s up to you to give them the opportunity to get the exercise they need and keep them engaged in play. The puppy I had eight years ago can still run circles around me today, and my eleven-year- old dog is always up for a game of ball or tug-of- war.
5. “I don’t want to have to say goodbye so soon.”
In life, there are no guarantees. I have seen pets live to a ripe, geriatric age and pass of natural causes, and also seen pets taken too soon by accident or disease. Anytime you have a relationship with a living thing you risk getting your heart broken. That’s just reality. What’s great about adopting a senior pet is that you know you are saving that pet’s life and ensuring them a happy second chapter.