There are dogs, cats, rabbits and all sorts of other animals available for adoption through the RSPCA, all of different ages, breeds, backgrounds and temperaments. Choosing the right pet for you can be tricky with all of those factors (and more) to consider, though thankfully the RSPCA staff are highly experienced in matching suitable pets to suitable adoptive owners.
Most people searching to adopt a pet prefer to adopt young animals. This is understandable, since getting a younger pet should give an owner the best chance of having a very long time with their pet. But there are many, many adult animals waiting in rescue centres and animal shelters for a home. Some are ‘middle-aged’ in human terms whilst others are ‘elderly’ and may not have many years of life left ahead of them. It takes a pretty special owner to want to take on the latter: someone who is prepared to have relatively little time with their pet in exchange for giving that pet the best possible life in a proper home.
Adopting Adult Pets
Adopting an older pet means that you know exactly what you are getting. A young, boisterous puppy could be energetic and excitable because it is young! But it could be that it has been bred from boisterous adults and it may never calm: which might become an issue as the small puppy becomes a fully-grown dog!
By adopting an adult pet you know several things that you would not know about a young animal. You will know, for instance, how big it is (and that it won’t get any bigger), what commands it already knows, that it is toilet trained and that it has no lurking hereditary diseases (as most of these would already have begun to emerge). You will also know its personality and temperament as the staff at the shelter will have spent considerable time assessing this in various situations to give a good picture to potential adopters of the animal’s character. The staff would do this for all animals, of course, but just as a human child’s personality changes throughout its life before stabilising in adulthood, so does an animal’s.
In some areas the RSPCA offers extra support and incentives to people wishing to adopt older pets including reduced adoption fees, veterinary and prescription food expenses and a 24 hour support phone line.
The downside, of course, is that you probably won’t get as long with your pet as you would with a young pet. But owners who have adopted older animals often say that they can sense that their pet is especially grateful to have been given the chance of growing old in a stable, loving home. As an older animal, it may already have experienced a home (whether good or bad) and can understand the difference between that, the shelter and the home that you are offering.
Elderly animals benefit greatly from having settled, loving homes and the reward of taking care of these pets is worth every moment.
The RSPCA is starting a special week of fundraising to help all kinds of animals find the right home. The RSPCA Week runs from June 14th to June 22nd. If you feel you can help then just click on the link here to the RSPCA Week.