I've always been an enthusiastic lover of baby animals. Having raised two puppies now, plus a handful of other species from babies, I can see why not everyone is as enthusiastic about them as I am. Baby animals are messy, untrained, hyper, and usually come with expensive vet bills. Despite all that, I still just adore them. Lately, though, I've developed a new appreciation for senior pets.
My house rabbit, Barnaby, will be turning 10 later this month. My amazing dog, Kitsune, will be celebrating his 8th birthday next month. While there may be some debate about whether Kit is senior or not (I don't consider him to be yet) he's certainly come a long way from that crazy hyper puppy we brought home almost 8 years ago.
I doubt anyone would argue that Barnaby is a senior now. The consensus seems to say that the average pet rabbit lives between 8 and 12 years. Despite his advancing age, Barnaby remains an engaged, playful, happy little guy. Perhaps not as active as he once was, he's also not nearly as messy either. I know a puppy or a baby bunny can be easy to fall in love with, but there is something indescribably special about the love of a senior pet.
Senior animals in shelters often times get overlooked. Although they may no longer be in the prime of life, they still have a lot to offer!
If you are looking for a new pet that might be a bit more well behaved, why not consider a senior? Finding the right older pet to join your family may mean avoiding things such as having to potty train, and behaviors such as chewing and nipping. Even if your new friend does have a few unwanted behaviors, it's a myth that you can't teach an old dog new tricks!
With an adult pet, usually what you see is what you get. You don't have to worry about trying to guess at how big your puppy will grow to be, or how he/she will behave. Senior animals have left the hormonal stages of their youth behind them, meaning that their personalities aren't as likely to change once you get them home. Plus, some older pets will already know things like basic manners and commands. Also, older pets usually have lower exercise demands, which can make caring for them a bit easier.
There are some concerns with adopting an older animal, such as the medical conditions that can sometimes come with aging. However, usually the benefits greatly outweigh the negatives. Plus, adopting a puppy can be just as expensive, if not more so, than caring for a senior.
In the past, I hate to admit, I was one of the many people who would have, more likely than not, passed up adopting a senior animal in favor of a younger one. Now having experienced the adoring love of older pets first hand, I'd love to someday take in an older animal in need. I think it's just heartbreaking that so many older, gentle souls find themselves in animal shelters - especially those of them who have grown old surrounded by family.
Adopt a senior pet and you will be saving a life, and gaining a new best friend. All companion animals deserve to live out the golden years of their lives in happiness.