Western Australia’s Shenton Dog Park has taken in more than 150 unwanted senior dogs in less than a year, with the shelter recording a steep increase in older dogs being rescued from the pounds.
Dog shelter manager Judy Flanagan said that older dogs could be the perfect pet for older Australians, reiterating that animals such as these should not spend their final years in a shelter.
“It is very difficult at times, I think, to own a dog for older people, because a younger dog is more effort in terms of what it needs,” Judy told ABC News.
According to Pet Finder, older dogs may wait four times as long as other dogs to be adopted. Dogtime notes of the survey: “According to shelter and rescue group members, the absolute hardest pets to place are the older dogs and cats. While adorable puppies and kittens seem to have no problem finding new homes, senior pets often spend the longest amount of time at the shelter before being adopted. Many do not get adopted at all. Because of low adoption rates for senior pets, old dogs and cats have higher euthanasia rates or even live out their lives in a shelter kennel.”
Retirement house builders are now offering special services and features designed to attract retirees who’d like to adopt an older pet. Richmond Villages has introduced a pet-care service at its new development in Witney, whereas Retirement Villages offers services such as dog-walking (to well-behaved pets, of course).
Perth residents, Mike and Joan Gourley, adopted Hazel earlier this year – an old cattle dog with cancer. The pet was dumped after she could no longer have puppies and worked as a cattle dog prior to becoming their new best friend.
The Gourleys got the blue heeler as part of the “seniors for seniors” program at a Perth dog shelter, with Hazel one of hundreds of animals to be rehomed.
“She came to us all skinny with a dull coat, we gave her a bit too much love so we had to put her on a diet, but now she’s lovely,” Mike told ABC News.
“Very energetic and loving, it’s wonderful for us — she comes everywhere with us, to the shops, the park, everyone knows her.”