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Humane society encourages adoption of older animals

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Humane society encourages adoption of older animals

While kittens are always a favorite for adoption, older cats can prove to be less stressful, especially for older people. Snowflake, a 4-year-old female, is one of the older animals available for adoption from the humane society.

Kittens and puppies can be a lot of fun, but they can also stress out their owners and cause some sleepless nights.

While the Panhandle Humane Society wants to see all its shelter animals find forever homes, Cathy McDaniel, executive director, said it has a number of older or senior dogs and cats that often get overlooked when someone comes in to adopt a pet.

McDaniel said they often have people come in looking for a senior pet that is still playful, but doesn’t have the high energy level of a puppy or kitten. Plus, she said, an older animal is more likely house-trained and can adapt easier to a home because it’s used to that environment.

She said one problem that people encounter, though not very often, is a dog that has been the only pet in a home for years and is brought into an environment with other dogs, it’s often hard for the new addition to get along with the other pets.

“Senior pets are a great fit for old people because many of the older animals we receive are surrendered by owners who might be moving into a nursing home, and so the animal is used to sitting on its owner’s lap and used to the routine of an older person,” she said.

McDaniel said they consider a senior pet to be an animal 5 years or older.

Right now the shelter is encouraging the adoption of older cats by offering a discounted rate of $20 per animal.

She said as the holidays quickly approach, many people think a pet would be the perfect gift, but that’s not the case.

“Pets should not be given as gifts,” she said. “Every year people come to the shelter to return a dog or cat because it was given to someone who wasn’t prepared to care for it or was not ready to provide the amount of time required.

“It’s a different story if Mom and Dad come in to surprise their children because Mom and Dad are the primary care givers.”

McDaniel said the shelter encourages potential owners to provide a foster home for animals.

“There is no commitment, and all a person has to do is fill out an application. If other animals are in the house, the foster animal needs to be introduced ahead of time. The foster parent provides food for the animal and can keep it for a week or a month.”

In some cases, McDaniel said, the foster parents become so attached that they decide to make the animal a permanent part of the family.

“The foster program is especially nice for our senior animals, because they are used to being in a home and it’s like a vacation for them,” she said.

The shelter has a couple of fundraisers coming up. On Saturday, Dec. 15, people can bring their pets to the shelter from 10 a.m. to noon and have their picture taken with Santa Claus. A freewill donation will be accepted for the photos.

Local artist Jenifer Berge Sauter is also offering painted portraits for sale, with proceeds benefiting the shelter. All that is needed is a photograph of the pet or pets.

For more information about any of the programs offered at the shelter, call 308-635-0922.

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