November Is ‘Adopt A Senior Pet Month’
TRIADELPHIA — As Ohio County’s dog warden, Doug McCroskey Jr. has grown fond of caring for the dogs and cats that come through the county animal shelter.
According to McCroskey, there are several older cats and dogs at the shelter, located on National Road in Triadelphia, that have yet to find a home. Shelter officials hope that will change this month, as November is Adopt a Senior Pet Month.
“We have two or three senior dogs and four or five senior cats. Sometimes we have them here for six, eight or 10 months,” McCroskey said.
One animal in particular eventually discovered a forever home after several months of being at the shelter.
“We had a dog that was adopted out and sent back several times. Between all four times, he was here for about two years. He eventually found someone who was retired and home a lot,” McCroskey said.
McCroskey believes people shy away from adopting older animals for several reasons, but that they are all worth it for the right pet.
“Personally (age) doesn’t matter to me — I find the animal and it finds me. It is always worth it for an animal,” he said. “When you adopt a senior dog, you normally don’t have the tear-up stage. A lot of times they are already housebroken, so you don’t need to go through the house training issues with them.”
McCroskey said older pets have special needs that prospective owners should take into account.
“The older they get, the more prone they are to diseases and illnesses. They get more arthritic and move around less, so if you want an older dog you have to be prepared because it’s probably going to cost you a little bit of money here and there,” he said.
The knowledge that an owner will have less time with an older pet than with one they adopt during its youth is another deterrent for some, McCroskey said, but he believes the satisfaction of knowing that animal will have a better life is worth it.
“It’s heartbreaking when something happens to your pet, and my son had an older dog. … They found out he had cancer and he did not have him long, but with what time he had left, they gave him a good home.”
He advises that there are pros and cons to owning any pet, old or young.
“People want a pet that sits next to them and on their lap, not one that runs and hides, and older pets can do that. If you want to go away for the weekend, you put out a little extra food and litter and you can go while they take care of themselves.”
With four cats of his own, McCroskey believes animals provide more than just a greeting at the door.
“People get so much back from animals without even realizing it,” he said. “Most people don’t realize when you have an animal and it’s in the house with you, it lowers your blood pressure. If you walk it, it lowers your cholesterol and picks up your metabolism. … People that have animals are happy people, for the most part. You’d be so surprised how many people that we deal with … that once they lost their pet, they kind of gave up.”