Our pets become a major part of our families and they will always need and want our love and attention, whether they’re 8 weeks or 13 years old. Older pets have no shortage of affection and loyalty to offer and you may be surprised to see that an older rescue pet seems more grateful to be part of your family.

Most senior and adult pets available for adoption came from a previous home that, for whatever reason they were unable to stay in. These pets typically have excellent manners and friendly temperaments. Although they may be shy at first, they generally know how to interact with humans. They will often even get along well with other pets.

A dog or cat falls into the “senior” category around age seven. So, when you are thinking about adopting a new pet from AACL or your local shelter, don’t look past the older dogs and cats. Just like puppies and kitten, senior pets make loyal and loving companions.

Older pets are not necessarily “problem pets” as many tend to think. Senior pets up for adoption have lost their homes for a variety of reasons, which usually have nothing to do with their behaviour or temperament, but more to do with the fact that their owners are unable to keep them for reasons including: the novelty of owning a dog wearing off, allergies, death of an owner, a new baby, loss of a job, a move, change in work schedule, and various other lifestyle changes. These older pets need a home just as badly as young pets up for adoption and make wonderful additions to the family.

Older pets usually come trained and understand at least basic commands. Most older dogs and cats are house-trained, and many dogs have mastered the basic commands such as “sit,” “stay,” “come,” and “down.” Adopting an already-trained dog or cat will save you a lot of time and energy that you would normally have to dedicate towards training a younger pet.

You can teach an old dog new tricks. Dogs can be trained at any age and older dogs are just as smart as younger ones. Older dogs have a greater attention span than a puppy, which makes it easier to expand on their training.

Older dogs or cats are calmer and less energetic than younger pets. A senior pet has graduated from the puppy/kitten stage and has an established temperament, which will give you an instant idea of how it will fit into your household. Older dogs have all their adult teeth and are out of the energetic puppy phase, which will result in less destruction to your home. Many senior pets do well with young children as they have a lower energy level and have possibly lived with children in their past homes.

Older dogs make instant companions. Unlike a puppy, which requires socialising, leash training etc, a senior dog is ready to accompany you on a walk and already knows how to play fetch.

Senior cats relish in their privacy and independence, so you can leave them at home during the day and not feel pangs of guilt. With a senior cat, what you see is what you get. Behaviours and patterns are generally already formed, if it enjoys a cuddle when you meet at the shelter, you can almost guarantee it will be that way for the rest of his life. Senior cats are often a much better match for young children than a kitten. Kittens operate with reckless abandon. Senior cats can often tolerate more attention from a child than a kitten who has zero patience. It is also a lot less likely for a young child to accidentally injure an adult cat.

Older pets know there are more important things in life than toys and fun. They appreciate comfort you can provide them with as they grow older. It has been reported many times that senior rescue pets become extremely affectionate and grateful. Senior pets will make, loyal companions, and are a great late night snuggle buddy.

They know how lucky they are to be in your care!