Issue 121 – 7 Reasons Why you should Adopt a Senior Pet

Luk Dau/ 17 YO / F
Luk Dau/ 17 YO / F

7 reasons why you should

adopt a senior pet

Bella / PN 225669 / 14 YO / F

They could make great first pets

Senior pets often make great companions for first-time pet owners, as they are in some ways easier to care for than puppies or kittens who might like to bite, chew and mouth their owners’ hands, clothes or belongings.

Most older animals often wind up at shelters due to a sudden change in their previous owner’s life such as the arrival of a newborn, relocation or death. They, therefore, often tend to be more reliable and have a basic understanding of what it’s like to live in a house with other animals or little humans running around.

You would be giving a rescue animal a second chance at life

A common misconception is that rescue animals are “problematic” or have “behavioural issues”, and – although, unfortunately, some of our animals do wind up at our centres as rescues from cases of neglect, mistreatment and sometimes abuse – it’s often through the fault of irresponsible owners who haven’t done their homework on what it means to take care of a pet.

All of our animals undergo assessment with our trainers and vets before becoming available for adoption, so if there were any physical or behavioural “issues” with a dog or a cat, this would have already been taken into account by our team and a solution will be provided to the adopter to help with the transition.

They are easy-going

Senior pets are often calmer in nature, and require less exercise, making them more suitable for people who work longer hours or have less active lifestyles. Although this may mean they are more likely to enjoy a snuggle in than a younger pet, they still require an adequate amount of exercise!

Bella, our 14-year-old rescue pup currently living with a foster family, enjoys an occasional short walk in the neighbourhood and playing on the soft grass for 30 minutes on cooler days.
“The advantage of adopting a senior pet is that owners do not need to exercise them as much as younger ones, which may be suitable for some Hong Kong people’s lifestyle. Going on a hike would be too much for Bella’s inflamed joints,” says Fong Chun Ho, Welfare Manager (Operations and Development).

Senior pets are great for retired folks, or even expats who are not planning to stay here permanently. You just need to make sure you time your departure sensibly!

They are full of life and personality

People tend to think that senior animals are “boring” or are less healthy and require more medical attention, but this isn’t always the case!

Some cats and dogs can live until 20 years old, have a clean bill of health and still have so much character – it all depends on the animal and how well they are taken care of, which brings us to our next point…

San Jar / PN 550255 / 9 YO / F

What you see, is what you get

The benefit of adopting a senior pet is the advantage of knowing their medical history, size, temperament, and personality beforehand. You wouldn’t be rolling the dice on a younger animal without a fully developed personality, and you’ll likely have access to the animal’s medical history from the adoption centre and know what to expect.

If in doubt, you can always ask the homing assistants and trainers who have spent time with the animals for more details on the animal’s background, including tips and advice.

Taking Bella as an example, our team would remind her foster family to gently pet her instead of picking her up as the latter could hurt her inflamed joints. A heads-up on how to take care of a senior animal can help the owner bond with the animal. “Giving her a mattress dog bed instead of a towel can help her sleep too,” said Zizi, our homing assistant.

You would be saving not one, but more lives!

It’s common for most shelters to hear that 6-month-old or 1-year-old cats and dogs are “too old”, making the “demand” for rescues older than 6 months significantly smaller than their younger pen mates. Unfortunately, this results in some dogs staying months or even years in shelters, and never experiencing a family or home to call their own, which can be highly stressful and sad for the animal.

Sadly, our centres have reached full capacity as the recent adoption rate has dropped to a record low. By adopting a companion animal , you would not only be saving the animal’s life, but also making room for us to rescue another animal in need.

And last, but definitely not least…

Unconditional love and companionship

Older pets still provide you with unconditional love and companionship! At the end of the day, there is nothing quite like returning home to a wagging tail or the gentle purr of your companion animal. And if you’ve ever wondered if they actually do love us back, the answer is yes!

Scientific studies have proven that not only do our pets love us back, but they see us as family! So regardless of their age, health status or breed, companion animals love us unconditionally and without judgement, regardless of who we are!

Biiru / 14 YO / F
Pepper & Pancake / 15 YO / F
Pepper / 15 YO / F