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Find a fantastic "new" old friend during Adopt a Senior Pet Month


Last updated 11/9/2020 at 6:49pm

woman with dog

Village News/Courtesy photo

Lorraine Hamblin with Minx, whom she adopted from Best Friends Animal Society in July. With Adopt a Senior Pet this November, Best Friends is offering tips on how to find the perfect senior dog or cat at a local shelter or rescue. 

LOS ANGELES – At 14, with one eye and a heart condition, Minx was having a hard time finding an adopter. The sweet Dachshund mix originally came into Best Friends Animal Society in Los Angeles in 2018, underweight and with mange. After receiving veterinary care from Best Friends, Minx found a long-term foster home that helped him continue to blossom into a happy, healthy little dog, but the hope was that he would find his forever home.

In July, Lorraine Hamblin logged on to Best Friends' website, looking for a smaller senior dog. She had lost her beloved Casey, whom she'd adopted as a senior, just before Christmas. While browsing, Hamblin was drawn to Minx.

"He seemed perfect from the first time I saw his pictures. When I read Minx's story, I knew I wanted to help him," Hamblin said. "At first, I didn't notice Minx had lost an eye but when I realized he had this little handicap and might get overlooked because of it, I knew I had to meet him."

Once Hamblin saw Minx in person, she said knew she had made the right choice.

"For me, it was love at first sight," Hamblin said. "Minx looked lively and personable, and my heart just went out to him."

Hamblin adopted Minx and brought him home on the same day. She found that Minx was house-trained, slept through the night, was fine with taking his daily medications, loved to meet neighbors and enjoyed naps and cuddle time.

"Once I retired, I decided to provide a forever home to dogs who need them, with the intention to give them as much love and comfort as possible during their later years," she said. "I would encourage anyone, though, even younger families, to consider senior dogs."

Best Friends offered the following reasons to adopt a senior dog or cat.

Families often think it's best to bring a puppy or kitten into the home, so the pet can "grow up with the children." While it sounds good on paper, this combination often results in a frustrated family.

"Puppies and kittens can be kind of wild and have no manners until they're old enough to be trained. Their sharp teeth and claws often result in fearful children and rough handling, making for a strained relationship," Julie Castle, CEO of Best Friends Animal Society, said. "Many families discover that a better choice is to adopt an older animal with a history of doing really well with children."

A benefit for anyone adopting an older dog is that they generally come with good manners, Castle said.

"They've spent years living in a home, learning social skills, and usually know some basic obedience commands. This makes the transition into your home much easier," she said.

Most adult dogs and cats are already house- or litter-trained.

"It may take a few hours or days to adjust to the new home, but it happens much more quickly than house training a new puppy," Castle said.

Senior pets are far less likely to be destructive to the belongings in your home.

"Puppies can be naughty and chew up shoes and furniture for years, but older pets are past that phase and just want to hang out with their people and their toys or find a cozy spot in the sun to curl up for a nap," she said.

A benefit to adopting an older pet is their size, weight and personality are developed, so you can choose them for what they are, rather for what you hope they'll be when they group up, Castle said.

"If you're looking for a cat that likes dogs, for example or vice versa, you can talk to an adoption specialist and find a pet with the history you're looking for," Castle said.

Adopters can find older purebred pets looking for new homes through shelters or breed rescue groups.

"Older dogs still enjoy going for walks with their people, but they don't have as much crazy energy as their younger counterparts. Without all that frustration, drama and mess, the family dynamic is easier. The pets and people can just enjoy each other's company," Castle said.

Since many shelters start labeling pets as "seniors" at 5 years old, it can add up to a lot of happy years together.

"November is National Adopt a Senior Pet Month and since senior pets can be among the most at-risk in shelters, this is a great time to talk about why an older dog or cat just might be the best choice for your next furry friend," Castle said. "If you're able to look past a little gray hair and open your home and your heart, your new old friend will show you why they're the perfect pet."

Visit to find a pet here in Fallbrook.


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