Most folks looking for a pet today opt for a puppy or kitten — after all, they're so damn cute. As they grow though, they tend have health issues (much like their growing human counterparts). Shockingly, a number of older pets are flooding the 3,500 animal shelters in the U.S. not because they stopped being cute or cuddly, but, more often, because they become too expensive.
“It’s often an economic thing,” Los Angeles-based photographer Lori Fusaro tells Today. “I've seen people just in tears and just so torn that they have to give up their animal … It’s really been eye-opening.”
Last year Fusaro launched a photography project called “Silver Hearts,” where she showcases the many senior animals available for adoption through her work. Her hope is to educate potential pet parents about the number of available senior pets in shelters.
Though they are generally the best behaved and lowest maintenance, according “Dog Whisperer” Cesar Millan‘s blog, senior pets are also most at risk for health issues in many shelters. Even those older pets that are healthy are more vulnerable because their age considers them less adoptable. As a result, they may be most in need of a loving home.
Image via Canstock
Here are some shelters and advocate programs that help older pets find the happy homes they deserve:
1. The Gray Muzzle Organization
Gray Muzzle actually helps aid the monetary issues that may coincide with parenting an older pet. The organization is committed to providing funding to senior dog programs around the country. While not directly related to senior dog adoption, Gray Muzzle does provide funding to organizations to make adoptions more financially feasible for pet parents.
2. Muttville Senior Dog Rescue
This nonprofit helps save senior dogs that have been abandoned and finds them new homes or provide them with hospice. Muttville provides shelter and care for older dogs that come from both homes and animal shelters. It also provides a foster program for folks who want to foster the pets until they find permanent homes.
3. Peace of Mind Dog Rescue
The Grove, Calif.-based rescue group is dedicated to providing information about and advocate programs for senior dogs and senior people. This means that when pet parents become unable to care for their pets due to their own age and health issues, Peace of Mind will work with the pet parent to find their pet a loving home.
4. Willy’s Happy Endings
Starting as a sanctuary for “super seniors” (dogs that only have a few months left to live), Willy’s has grown into a dedicated shelter for older pets. Based in Tennessee, Willy’s now not only cares for “super seniors” as they pass on naturally, but it also offers homes to other senior dogs as well as a foster program for them.
Though it may seem too “sad” to adopt a senior pet, there are often many benefits, both emotionally and practically. Because these pets have generally already been adjusted to a home environment they generally know simple commands and are also low energy. Emotionally, people that adopt senior pets report a sense of accomplishment and love knowing they’ve saved a pet and provided them with a happy place to live out their lives.
Get pet insurance
We may be a little biased, being a pet insurance company, but we truly believe in the peace of mind it gives pet parents. Covering most non-preexisting conditions, a pet insurance policy ensures you'll never have to make hard decisions about your pet’s health.