November is elderly animals month
Text Mark Taylor Photo Michael / Unsplash
In the United States, November is dedicated to finding homes for elderly animals. Just like in the US, older animals often spend much longer in the shelter than puppies, kittens and younger animals. However, they deserve love and a caring home just as much – sometimes more. Therefore, the Estonian Animal Protection Society is bringing elderly animal month to Estonia.
Most older animals that arrive at the shelter have spent most of their lives in a domestic environment. For many, arriving at the shelter is a big shock, because they have lost their sense of security, familiar smells, beds, as well as human and sometimes animal companions.
It is a commonly held belief that older animals find it hard to get used to a new home, but the truth is rather the opposite. An elderly animal is grateful to be able to feel safe again, to find a routine and a person who offers cuddles and a soft bed.
With an older animal, knowing that there is more information about its character, preferences and needs gives extra peace of mind to potential new owners.
They always say about dogs that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. In fact, an older dog is sometimes an even better learner than a puppy because it can concentrate for longer. For example, under the guidance of the right trainer, an older dog that tugs on a leash can be taught to walk nicely. In general, it can be safely assumed that an old dog does not often need to be taught so-called new tricks, because they know not to scratch or chew certain things and to go to the toilet outside.
Also, the shelter can often tell you whether the animal prefers to be the only furry friend of the family or gets along well with others as well as if they are more energetic or calm – characteristics that are still developing in young animals.
Of course, every animal needs care and attention, but it is quite likely that somewhere in a shelter there is an elderly animal waiting, whose character exactly matches the habits of the future home.
The fear that the animal will get sick or will soon leave for the other side of the rainbow prevents many from deciding in favour of an elderly animal. However, animals that are well cared for could have many more years to share with a loving family. It is not at all unheard of for a dog to live to be more than 15 and a cat to live well into their 20s.
Whether it’s November or any other month of the year, when looking for a new friend, it’s worth looking into the eyes of the shelter’s older residents, asking about their character and, if the feeling is right, offering some elderly animal the opportunity to spend their retirement comfortably in a homely environment. The gratitude and love that an elderly animal offers in return is limitless.
The Estonian Animal Protection Society is a non-profit organisation uniting animal lovers, operating since the spring of 2000, whose mission is to ensure and improve the welfare of animals in need and to prevent animal abuse.