This year, American Humane Association is launching a national initiative to bring awareness to a vital issue: The need to provide safe, loving homes for the thousands of older pets that often face the highest risk in animal shelters.
Each year, an estimated 3 million to 4 million shelter animals are euthanized. Many potential pet adopters overlook older animals — but there are so many reasons why dogs over the age of 6 or 7 make ideal furry family members and friends:
- They tend to be less rambunctious than younger dogs.
- They're often already house-trained.
- They're a great fit for people with busy lifestyles.
- They're so grateful for a second chance.
- They love you unconditionally.
"It's heartbreaking to think about all the senior animals who had been cherished pets before they suddenly found themselves confused and alone in shelter kennels," said Dr. Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of American Humane Association. "Far too often this happens to many older dogs through no fault of their own—after their human owners encounter financial troubles, illness, or other life upheavals."
This need is gaining attention across the country. Numerous stories are appearing on the news and a new book, "My Old Dog: Rescued Pets with Remarkable Second Acts," by TODAY.com writer Laura T. Coffey and photographer Lori Fusaro highlights how much senior dogs have to offer. My Old Dog shares happy adoption success stories and celebrates the grand times that can be had with shelter dogs past the age of puppyhood.
"Senior dogs who get adopted from shelters just might be the most grateful dogs on the planet," said Coffey. "And don't let their age fool you! It's amazing to see how much these dogs still have to offer and teach us."
Your local shelter is the perfect place to find dogs of every type, size, age and personality – all waiting for a loving home. Or if you prefer a particular breed that isn't currently available at a shelter, go online to find a legitimate breed-specific rescue group in need of adopters like you.
In fact, why not help build momentum and spread the word by making a pledge to make your next pet a rescue. Find out what a shelter or rescue dog can bring to your life this October during Adopt-A-Dog Month.