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Are you thinking of a pet? – Senior Planet

Pets have so many positive qualities – having a pet lowers our blood pressure and cholesterol, improves our mood, increases our exercise, offers friendship, protects against loneliness and depression and improves our social life and our work-life balance, which makes us rethink our priorities. If you also want to consider improving your social life (even during a pandemic) studies show that dog owners are much more likely to know their neighbors – one said that about 50% of dog owners made new friends as a result of their dog, because dogs are natural icebreaker.

Here’s what to think about.

What race?

Investigate different races first. Breeds bred for companionship, such as the Cavalier King

Photo by Forest Simon on Unsplash

Charles Spaniels (left), Shih Tzu and Maltese are good options: they are more likely to want to lie on your lap or cuddle on the couch next to you, says Dr. Heather Venkat, Arizona Public Health Veterinarian. “Working dog breeds, like a hyper husky who likes to draw or a Belgian malinois, may not be the best choice.”

Petfinder.com, which offers adoptable pets from nearly 11,000 shelters and rescue teams in North America, has a breeding finder that makes it easy. You can read descriptions of different dog breeds and their energy, playfulness and affection levels, training and grooming requirements, simple training, vocality (barking) and kindness to other dogs. You can also search for small or large dogs, flat dogs, long or short haired dogs, allergy friendly, emotional support and the healthiest breeds. There is also a cat breed. Basically, choosing a pet for one that suits your lifestyle and activity level: avid hiker? Soffpotatis? There is a pet for you.

Think about your lifestyle. “There is no specific breed that is best for older adults. Usually it’s chemistry and / or love at first sight, says Madeline Bernstein, president of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Los Angeles and author of Designer Dogs: An Exposé: Inside the Criminal Underworld of Crossbreeding (Apollo Publishers). With that said, your lifestyle and your general well-being are relevant. Is the dog maintenance-intensive, requires more training excursions and more trips to the groomer, and what about your ability to lift, hold back, control and medicate the pet? ”

Older versus younger?

A puppy is active, energetic, needs housekeeping, trains in basic commands such as “stay” and “leave it” and a lot of attention, is inclined to chew things but is, let’s face it, sweeter. An older dog is calmer, potty trained (hopefully), needs less exercise and its personality is solidified – but is more likely to have medical problems (and their costs). Balance the adulteration factor and the problems associated with infants and toddlers with the known quantity factor and the challenges that come with aging.

Photo by Catherine Heath on Unsplash

“Who wants a puppy, pee and boy everywhere, jump up on you and your guests? Chew your shoes? Asks Sherri Franklin, founder of Muttville, a rescue team for older dogs in California, outright. “Most older rescue dogs come with some training and everyone is so grateful for their new beginning. They soak up love and fit like an old comfortable pair of slippers! Often the dog is used to living with a senior, because we take in many dogs from seniors, so it is a win-win. ”

For adopters 62+, Muttville has a Seniors for Seniors program that offers free adoption (typically $ 200) plus a one-month supply of food, leash, collar, food bowls, dog bed and, if needed, a dog gate or stairs. Its on-site veterinarian evaluates the dog’s health, so you are aware of any medical problems and perform spay / castration or other surgery as needed. Franklin urges pet parents to have pet insurance to help with the costs. One insurer, Trupanion, waives the registration fee for Muttville adopters.

You will find heartwarming stories about older people who are happy about their adopted seniors (and photos) on Muttville’s website under “Success Stories” (visit here). It takes a heart of stone to resist Alfie (AKA Bartholomew, left) and his story.

Pros and Cons

Save the life of an older dog. “Adopting an older pet can save your life. Many people are quick to adopt kittens and puppies, often with a view of older pets, says Dr. Amanda Landis-Hanna, Senior Director of Veterinary Medicine at PetSmart Charities, the leading funder of animal welfare groups in North America. “Older pets are calmer and less energetic. Do not assume that they are “problem animals”, she says. Older pets can be waived for reasons that usually have nothing to do with their behavior or temperament – a trait, allergies, a new baby, a change in work schedule or a job loss, among other reasons.

Enjoy the puppy’s prank. On the other hand, Teri Dreher, a nurse for more than 30 years who owns NShore Patient Advocates in the Chicago suburbs, recently adopted a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy. “I think a puppy is good for older people: they bring a lot of joy and laughter in your life, you will have the dog for a long time and the exercise involved in potty training is good for everyone,” she says. “I would recommend a small to medium-sized dog … even smaller dogs can be very strong and unpleasant, which can cause falls if you are not careful. Older dogs get more expensive health conditions over time. ”


Take the short quiz on Petfinder.com to see which pets are up for adoption near you. For dogs, choose the desired size (small, up to 25 pounds, large, 61-100 pounds, medium, occasionally), age, gender and how important it is to be house broken and the distance from your home (10 -100 miles or wherever) preferably). Then see photos and “CV” of dogs appear in front of your eyes (yes, as a dating site). When I chose small, adult, female and house broken within ten miles, a charmer named Roux appeared, a poodle mix 8 years old, a mile from me, plus many more beyond these categories.

You can ask questions from the protection or rescue team that offers the pet, whose contact information is listed, find out adoption fees, which can range from $ 5 to hundreds, and whether vaccinations, spaying / castration and temperament testing are included. Tips on your first month with your new pet are also available at Petfinder.com. These include

pet protection your home (make sure objects that break or toxic foods or plants are out of reach)

place your pet in an area that is easy to clean if possible

understanding that a new environment, people or schedule can make a troubled pet forget potty training skills.

If you’m still on the fence, promote a pet is a good option. It is a temporary attempt to bring a pet home from a protection or rescue group for weeks or months before it is adopted. A list of 20 questions to ask yourself before you promote can be found at Petfinder.com. Fetal “failures” often have happy endings when the foster parent decides to adopt the pet.

How has your pet added to your life? Upload a picture so we can admire him or her!

Photo: Sharon’s adopted pet, Fluffy.

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