For new and potential pet owners, visiting an animal shelter to adopt a young — and preferably housebroken — pet is the norm. Younger animals appear warmer, cuddlier, and more energetic than their aged comrades located in the adjacent kennels. However, what often goes unconsidered is the amount of energy and demand for patience required to mold a younger animal into a great pet.
Senior pets, on the other hand, typically have a more peaceful demeanor. Most have been potty-trained long ago and are well beyond the sleeping-on-your-furniture and chewing-through-every-shoe-in-the-closet phase of their lives. And yet many shelters are unable to find homes for senior pets and those with special needs.
In fact, according to Petfinder.com, 95 percent of shelters and animal rescue groups report that they have a difficult time finding homes for dogs that are of adult age, have existing medical conditions, or have thick, black fur. In the wake of these findings, Petfinder has named this week "Adopt-A-Less-Adoptable-Pet Week."
This year, Petfinder has posted ads featuring dogs and cats with signs around their neck that read, "Don’t Hate Me Because I’m (black/blind/deaf/old). Adopt Me Because I Need You."
"Every day, families walk into shelters or visit Petfinder.com and, perhaps unconsciously, bypass some adoptable pets simply because of the way they look, their age, or because they have a condition such as blindness or deafness," said Betsy Banks Saul, co-founder of Petfinder.com.
"These 'less adoptable' animals can end up in shelters for years — overlooked time after time. Of course we want to find homes for the cute puppies and kittens as well, but the goal of this campaign is to draw attention to ALL the amazing, adoptable pets out there — including those who may be older or shy or have special needs."
Proponents of special needs or senior pet adoptions argue that encouraging special-needs adoptions will not reduce the chances of a puppy or kitten being placed in a loving home. They add that by adopting an older animal, many first-time pet owners would be able to take advantage of the animal's experience and wisdom. And because there are few greater gifts than giving a pet a home, why not adopt one with a lot of character and bit more maturity?
Image: Spot Us / via Flickr