For many in the retiree set, the companionship of a cat or dog is just what the doctor ordered. However, not everyone has the energy or wants the long-term commitment that is involved when adding a puppy, kitten or younger pet to their home. Many need to look no further than the senior cats and dogs waiting for adoption at local shelters and rescues. Most of these animals acclimate quickly to a new home environment because they are already used to a routine and they are the animals most in need of a home.
Several area shelters and rescues have special programs aimed at helping senior pets connect with potential adopters. Some are aimed at other seniors (as in people) and other programs offer incentives for anyone to consider adopting senior pets.
Young at Heart Pet Rescue – Heart to Heart
If you are looking for a senior pet to add to your home, look no further than Young at Heart Pet Rescue. The north suburban rescue takes in senior pets from open admission shelters, gets them updated on medical care and works to help them find a family. They’ve found homes for over 400 dogs and cats since they started rescuing in 2005.
“We offer a special program for seniors on all of the cats we have available for adoption – our Heart to Heart program,” Says Dawn Kemper, founder and executive director of YAH. “We waive all adoption fees on senior cats when they are adopted by anyone 65 and over. We do ask that a family member or guardian co-sign on the adoption guaranteeing that the animal be returned to us in case the person can no longer care for the pet. This makes it comforting for people to know that the animal will end up back with us and not on death row someplace if something happens.”
$5 Feline Program – for adopters of all ages
Young at Heart’s senior kitties waiting the longest for a home are part of a special promotion for one day only – Saturday, November 26 from noon to 3 p.m. Thanks to the $5 Feline promotion with Best Friends Animal Society – cats at that have been at YAH five weeks or longer are just $5 on Saturday. To qualify, you must fill out an application (download here), be approved to adopt and have a current/recent veterinary reference. The promotion includes Winter, Puff, Lexi, Chloe, Chad, Fantasia and Autumn (it doesn’t apply to new arrivals).
Anti-Cruelty Society – Aged to Perfection & Pets for the Elderly
The Anti-Cruelty Society has one program aimed at senior adopters and a second at senior pets. Through the Pets for the Elderly Program that started in 2002, anyone over 60 that can provide food, veterinary care and a loving home may adopt a pet free of charge. Through September of this year, 45 dogs and 123 cats have been adopted through the program. Dogs must be over the age of two and all cats qualify.
Under the Aged to Perfection Program, adopters (of any age) are eligible to receive a full refund on the adoption fee for all pets over seven years old, if the adoption is successful after 90 days. Since the program launched in 2007, 80 adopters have asked for reimbursements. The 80 adoptions have been split pretty evenly between cats and dogs according to Trisha Trinco of The Anti-Cruelty Society. She adds that many adopters who adopt an older pet don’t return to the organization for a reimbursement.
“Senior pets are overlooked in the shelters and many people don’t realize that most seven-year-old cats have many good years left,” says Trinco. “Through these two programs we are really trying to accommodate by pairing up animals with older people and people with older animals.”
Save-A-Pet – Permanent Foster Programs & Adoptions with Incentives
Save-A-Pet (SAP) has been operating its no-kill, non-profit in the Northern Suburbs for 40 years. An animal’s age and health issues have never been a barrier that prevents an animal from being rescued by the organization. For some animals, that could mean that SAP is their final home. The organization offers two programs – permanent foster care and adoption with incentives – to help older animals or those with health problems find a home.
Under the permanent foster program, SAP takes on the financial burden of health care so that the animals are in a loving home their final years, but still getting the care they need. Animals are treated by the veterinarians used by SAP at the organization’s expense. Through the adoption with incentives program, SAP provides yearly vaccinations at their cost ($25 instead of the $100 charged at many vet offices). Any needed medications, supplements or prescription food may also be ordered at shelter cost. The program applies to any condition that exists prior to the animal’s adoption and gives senior or long-term residents a chance to have a home.
SAP has many senior cat and dogs looking for a home. The organization is currently featuring all their senior cats for adoption with a special flier viewable on Facebook.
November has been designated Adopt-A-Senior Pet month to help promote the adoption of senior pets from shelters and rescues. During November, I’m highlighting the benefits of adopting senior pets, programs available for adopting senior pets and some of the products and services available to assist older pets. Today’s feature looks at special adoption incentives for senior citizens and others that decide to open their heart and home to a senior pet and various programs aimed at senior citizens who adopt a new pet.
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