To the inexperienced animal guardian and the seasoned animal caregiver, senior pets can make amazing companions. Senior dogs or cats will gently ease a first time pet guardian into the responsibilities of daily care and maintenance. The life-long animal lovers who have already experienced raising a pet from adolescence to adulthood, will often choose an older animal because they know the animal will give you all the love and affection without the time commitment of training and hours of exercise.
When you first meet senior souls, their true personalities shine brightly. They strictly follow the motto, "What you see is what you get," so there usually are no surprises when you get home. Young at heart in their golden years, most seniors have been well socialized, enabling them to join you in your daily adventures. There is no need to worry about puppy training, mouthing, destructive behaviors or kitten curiosities. Most seniors are house trained, have gentle personalities with impeccable manners which allow you to trust them alone at home for longer periods of time. The saying, "You can't teach old dogs new tricks," is often a misconception. A senior pet will be more attentive, less likely to be distracted, and is often eager to please.
The world has been explored over and over before, so a senior's focus is more on the committed companionship with their person. There will still be moments of interactive play and also times of peaceful evenings on the couch. I strongly believe that it's not the quantity of years you spend with your senior friend, but rather the quality of time that truly counts. Some of the best lessons in life come from the wisdom, patience, and unconditional love of your elderly companion.
In the time that I have spent in animal shelters, my most heartfelt moments were with the faces that have shades of gray. The connection that I feel when engaging with them is priceless. They are the ones whose stories I love to share and memories that I keep dear.
The two PAWS alumni' pictured above are Donald, a 14-year-old Cocker Spaniel mix adopted February 2006 and Smokey Lonesome, a 10-year-old Domestic Long Hair cat adopted February 2009.