Adding a pet to your household as a senior warrants some particular considerations. Many seniors need animals that can adapt to smaller living areas and are not overly demanding of exercise and energy. Seniors want pets that will not overwhelm their physical endurance, will not exceed their ability to provide care, and will not overtax their financial resources. Here are some things to think about as you make your decision:
- There is ample and easily available information recommending specialized breeds of cats and dogs that are most suitable for seniors. Cats and smaller dogs need less space. Smaller dogs are happy with shorter and slower-paced walks. However, the other option is: Don’t Shop, Adopt. Adoption offers a much broader range of choices than a single breed. Many rescue animals are mixed-breed and less prone to breed-specific physical and medical vulnerabilities that can affect pure-bred animals. And it can be incredibly gratifying to rescue an animal who might otherwise not find a home.
- Be a senior helping a senior. Kittens and puppies are fun and cute, but they are overflowing with energy and require lots of consistent effort to socialize and train. Older animals are less likely to find a forever home, but they are more likely to be fully trained and housebroken, to be more mellow and calm, and to have established personalities. Since all CARE animals are fostered In private homes rather than caged in a facility, they are adapted to household routines and often to other animals. Foster caregivers can provide an accurate and helpful assessment of temperament. CARE also allows you and the pet a trial period before the adoption becomes permanent, and CARE will try to help with rehoming if your circumstances change.
- If adoption is not possible, fostering animals pre-adoption gives the joy of animal companionship without the longer-term financial or physical commitment. CARE provides foster caregivers with training and education, an experienced mentor, all medications and medical care, quality food, and pet supplies like beds, crates, leashes and harnesses, litter boxes, and toys.
Some forethought and an honest assessment of the prospective pet’s requirements and your own expectations and capabilities can pave the way for a rewarding and satisfying outcome for both you and your new furry friend.