By Best Friends
At 14, with one eye and a heart condition, Minx was having a hard time finding an adopter. The sweet Dachshund mix originally came into Best Friends Animal Society in Los Angeles in 2018, underweight and with mange. After receiving veterinary care from Best Friends, Minx found a long-term foster that helped him continue to blossom into a happy, healthy little dog. But the hope was that the right person would come along and give him a forever home.
This July, Lorraine Hamblin logged onto Best Friends’ website specifically looking for a smaller senior dog. She had lost her beloved Casey, whom she’d adopted as a senior, just before Christmas. While browsing, Hamblin was quickly drawn to Minx.
“He seemed perfect from the first time I saw his pictures. When I read Minx’s story, I knew I wanted to help him,” Hamblin said. “At first, I didn’t notice Minx had lost an eye but when I realized he had this little handicap and might get overlooked because of it, I knew I had to meet him.”
Once Hamblin saw Minx in person, she knew she had made the right choice. As she recalls, “For me, it was love at first sight. Minx looked lively and personable and my heart just went out to him.”
It was. Hamblin adopted Minx and brought him home on the same day. She quickly found that Minx is house-trained, sleeps through the night, is fine with taking his daily medications, loves to meet neighbors (two- and four-legged), and really enjoys naps and cuddle time.
For Hamblin, Minx is perfect fit. “Once I retired, I decided to provide a forever home to dogs who need them, with the intention to give them as much love and comfort as possible during their later years,” she said. “I would encourage anyone, though, even younger families, to consider senior dogs.”
Best Friends Animal Society CEO Julie Castle couldn’t agree more.
“November is National Adopt a Senior Pet Month and since senior pets can be among the most at-risk in shelters, this is a great time to talk about why an older dog or cat just might be the best choice for your next furry friend,” Castle said.
Best Friends offers the following reasons a senior dog or cat might be the right fit for you:
Families often think it’s best to bring a puppy or kitten into the home, so the pet can “grow up with the children.” While this sounds good on paper, this combination often results in a frustrated family. “Puppies and kittens can be kind of wild and have no manners until they’re old enough to be trained. Their sharp teeth and claws often result in fearful children and rough handling, making for a strained relationship,” Castle said. “Many families discover that a better choice is to adopt an older animal with a history of doing really well with children.”
A benefit for anyone adopting an older dog is that they generally come with good manners, Castle noted. “They’ve spent years living in a home, learning social skills, and usually know some basic obedience commands. This makes the transition into your home much easier.”
Most adult dogs and cats are already house- or litter-trained. “It may take a few hours or days to adjust to the new home, but it happens much more quickly than house training a new puppy,” Castle said.
Senior pets are far less likely to be destructive to the belongings in your home. “Puppies can be naughty and chew up shoes and furniture for years, but older pets are past that phase and just want to hang out with their people and their toys or find a cozy spot in the sun to curl up for a nap,” she said.
A great benefit to adopting an older pet is that you know exactly what you’re getting. Their size, weight and personality are already developed, so you can choose them for what they are, rather for what you hope they’ll be when they group up, Castle said. “If you’re looking for a cat that likes dogs, for example, or vice versa, you can talk to an adoption specialist and find a pet with the history you’re looking for.”
It’s often easy to find older purebred pets looking for new homes through shelters or breed rescue groups.
Senior pets are generally easier to have around. “Older dogs still enjoy going for walks with their people, but they don’t have as much crazy energy as their younger counterparts. Without all that frustration, drama, and mess, the family dynamic is easier. The pets and people can just enjoy each other’s company,” Castle said.
Give a senior pet a second chance and you’ll share a lifetime of unconditional love. Since many shelters start labeling pets as “seniors” at five years old, that can add up to a lot of happy years together.
“If you’re able to look past a little gray hair and open your home and your heart, your new old friend will show you why they’re the perfect pet,” Castle said.
Get started by visiting www.bestfriends.org now to find a rescue or shelter near you.
About Best Friends Animal Society
Best Friends Animal Society is a leading national animal welfare organization dedicated to ending the killing of dogs and cats in America’s shelters. In addition to running lifesaving programs in partnership with more than 3,100 animal welfare groups across the country, Best Friends has lifesaving centers in New York City, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Salt Lake City, and operates the nation’s largest no-kill sanctuary for companion animals in Kanan, UT. Founded in 1984, Best Friends is a pioneer in the no-kill movement and has helped reduce the number of animals killed in shelters nationwide from an estimated 17 million per year to around 625,000. That means there are still more than 1,700 dogs and cats killed every day in shelters, just because they don’t have safe places to call home. We are determined to bring the country to no-kill by the year 2025. Working collaboratively with shelters, rescue groups, other organizations and you, we will end the killing and Save Them All. To check out our pet lifesaving dashboard and for more information, visit bestfriends.org.