It’s Adopt-a-Senior-Pet Month: Bring Home the Love

What do you get when you adopt a senior pet? Some pretty big benefits, according to local senior pet adopters. You get “I-love-you-no-matter-what” devotion. You get a loyal and grateful companion; a mellow buddy by your side; a friend who’s always happy to see you. And the advantages go beyond that.

To celebrate all the good things that senior pets bring to life, Francisvale Home for Smaller Animals, the 103-year-old no-kill shelter in Radnor, and Petfinder, the popular pet adoption site, are celebrating November as Adopt-A-Senior-Pet Month. And celebrating is the word. Francisvale adopters who have taken home older pets can tell you it’s a win-win.

Susan and George House adopted Grizwold, a 12-year-old Keeshond, to keep their old dog, Elliot, company – and Grizwold “has been brightening our lives ever since,” says Susan. “He’s so happy to have a home; he and Elliot curl up and sleep together. And Grizwold has adopted my husband and follows him everywhere.” Grizwold even helps in the kitchen – cleaning up scraps. “He can’t hear but he has a great sniffer and loves food. He’s just full of love. He’s no trouble and he’s fun to have around.”

Senior animals arrive at shelters for a variety of reasons, says Jodi Button, executive director at Francisvale. “In some cases the owner dies, or there’s a divorce in the family, maybe a change of jobs, a move.” Some may have been rescued from a bad situation, but have survived with spirit and trust intact. “Most have had a home and they want one again,” says Jodi. “At Francisvale we know the animal’s history so we can make the best match for the people and the pet.”
?Many adopters tend to want younger animals, says Heather Hennessy, shelter manager at Francisvale. “But the advantage of a senior pet is – you know what you’re getting. You know their full-grown size, their personality, their grooming needs. And even though some of our older pets have had hard things happen to them,” says Heather, “they’re wonderful souls. They’re quieter and calmer. When an adopter comes along to take them in and give them comfort for their later years,” she observes, “they’re so grateful to you for giving them a home.”

Senior cats and dogs can fit especially well into the lives of older companions. “I like that Mosely is older, because I am too,” says Marie Loughney about the Jack Russell she adopted from Francisvale last summer. After Marie’s beloved dog Flower died, she vowed no more pets. Then she saw Mosely’s story in the newspaper’s “Pets Looking for People” column and thought, “Well, that’s a possibility.” She called Francisvale; met Mosely; it was a match. “I’m glad I did this. He’s such a good companion. “He even puts up with the cats, though he seems to be saying, ‘Gee, they’re not like dogs.’”

Like Mosely and Grizwold, seasoned pets don’t ask for much. Just that one special home to cherish them, a warm place to sleep, good meals and plenty of love. They’re often content just to watch what’s going on in the living room or outside the window.

Felicity, a 16-year-old longhaired black and white cat, got all that and more when Cheryl Frazer and Liesl Woelfel adopted her from Francisvale. “We like to rescue older animals,” says Cheryl. “For one thing, we know they’re less likely to be adopted. And we like mellow, loving, cuddly animals, which older pets tend to be. Felicity is just perfect. We have absolutely fallen in love with her. She’s all love and even sweeter than we imagined. We view her as a gift.”

A golden girl like Felicity is an especially good fit for owners with an active lifestyle. “I drive from place to place on my job all day,” says Cheryl, “so it’s nice to come home to mellow.”

That’s what’s behind Adopt-A-Senior-Pet Month: sharing the bounty that older best friends bring to life. Oh, and then there’s the wisdom thing – something Susan House learned from Grizwold. “Dogs are so resilient,” she observes. “Animals don’t look long term. They don’t feel sorry for themselves. They just get on with whatever is happening.”

Like Lucy, an elegant black-and-white longhaired cat who patiently waits at Francisvale for her “retirement home,” having lost her mom to cancer. Lucy positively coos when you pet her. And Myles and Fanny, a pair of Polish Lowland Sheepdogs who find themselves at Francisvale because of a divorce. They may be eight years old, but there’s nothing elderly about these happy, playful beauties.

If you want to adopt a senior pet, call Francisvale at 610-688-1018.

Story: Elinor Donahue
Photos courtesy Mary Hunt Davis Photography.

This entry was posted on Thursday, November 1st, 2012 at 9:00 am and is filed under News.

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