Perfectly Aged… and Rescued
By Lena Hart, Marketing & Event Planning Manager Suncoast Humane Society
I’ll never forget the day I came home to poop-covered walls. It was 2016, and my newly adopted 3-month-old Pit Bull puppy named Biggie had just had his first explosive accident that still burns my nostrils every time I think about that day. Oh, the joys of potty training, crate training, leash training, teething, and manners… our family unit was experiencing a new world together. One of the perks of adopting a young pet is that you form a strong bond from the beginning that lasts through all of their developmental stages. You watch them grow from spunky little creatures, through the awkward “teenage” stage where they aren’t quite sure what to do with their bodies, and watch them finally become confident adults. It’s a magical time, poop-covered walls and all.
Sure, all new creatures and things are beautiful and cuddly, whether we’re talking babies, puppies/kittens or even technology. But what about those with more years and the experience that comes with those years, the beautifully aged “antiques?” November is recognized as National Adopt-A-Senior-Pet Month, and I’d like to share a story that may open your heart and home to a senior pet.
Olly, an 8-year-old Rottweiler/Labrador Retriever, came to Suncoast Humane Society in 2016. Between 2016 and 2018, Olly was surrendered to our shelter 3 times, but also was adopted out 3 times. He was 10 years old when he finally found his forever human. Olly’s 74 year old human, Barbara, came into the shelter in April of 2018 looking for a well-mannered Yellow Lab. Olly was not the dog Barbara was searching for, but he was recommended by our Adoption Specialist, Brittany. Olly’s and Barbara’s special connection sparked in the meet-and-greet area when their eyes met for the first time. Barbara looked Olly in the eyes, and all of the sudden he came over and laid his head in her lap. He chose her. That was the moment Barbara knew she wasn’t going home alone, and he became her Olly Bear.
What happened after the adoption is nothing short of amazing. Barbara learned that her 10-year-old senior fur baby loves going on adventures to the park and the beach, and one of their favorite ways to bond is during his pampering sessions when Olly Bear gets his ears and teeth cleaned by his favorite human. He doesn’t play ball, but loves to fetch a stick. Pleasant surprise? “He doesn’t tear his toys apart” Barbara said as she laughed. When I asked Barbara if she had any fears or reservations about adopting a senior dog, she said that there were none: “Don’t bypass the old dogs, they deserve a great life too.” Olly turns 11 years old in November, and what he doesn’t know yet is that there is a 2 foot tall stuffed “Shrek” is in his future!
Older shelter pets are often overlooked by many visitors. Maybe it’s the fear of not knowing how much time is left, or maybe it’s the uncertainty of what challenges might arise as these seniors’ personalities are discovered after the adoption. Those concerns are reasonable and appropriate to have as a responsible pet owner. And while senior pets may not appeal to some people, there’s so much more to them than just their age.
If you want to welcome a fur baby into your life and believe you’re in the right place and time to do so, please consider more than just an adoption: please consider a rescue. Almost anyone is capable of adopting an animal, but not all are willing to rescue an overlooked pet from a crumbling mountain of loneliness and fear.
At Suncoast Humane Society, older pets have special adoption fees. Senior pets aged 7 years or older are available for an adoption fee of $75. Senior adopters, aged 65 years or older, also qualify for a special adoption fee of $75. The adoption fee for senior adopters adopting a senior pet is only $50. Pets who have been at the shelter for 6 months or longer, have a special adoption fee of just $25. An additional $20 rabies vaccine fee required by your county applies to all cat and dog adoptions. Adoptable animals can be visited at Suncoast Humane Society’s Animal Care Center located at 6781 San Casa Drive in Englewood, or by visiting www.humane.org.