If there’s one truth that crosses cultural, race, age, and all other boundaries, it is this: humans need companionship. Whether that companionship is your family, your friends, your pets, or a combination of all of these, we all need a best friend.
I know about this personally, as I have a Golden Retriever named Maggie.
Maggie is loyal, loving, and she is always there for me when I need her.
For seniors, having pets is truly a win-win situation for all involved. Senior citizens often have a lot of free time to spend with their pet, as many are retired. Pets love nothing more than to be with their owner, and seniors may have more time to spend with them than would a younger owner who spends most of their time away from the home each day.
Pets constantly provide love, friendship and unconditional support. Dogs, in particular, can impove health as they encourage seniors to spend more time being active outdoors while on walks. To see more health benefits that pets provide to seniors, check out this great infographic.
Some of us may need a little bit of help in finding the right pet. Over the next few sections, I’ll share some great online resources to help guide you, or your loved one, in the right direction in your search for a furry companion.
The Pets for the Elderly Foundation is a wonderful charity which helps older adults age 60 and up afford the adoption of pets. They help seniors to locate a companion pet from one of its participating shelters. Then they help subsidize the adoption fee, including the cost of spay or neutering fees if applicable.
Bay Alarm Medical is officially sponsoring the Pets for the Elderly Foundation for all of this month and the month of March. Bay Alarm Medical is donating a portion of their profits from all sales for these two months to The Pets For The Elderly Foundation. This is meant to help them continue doing their great work of helping seniors afford pet adoption.
While Pets for the Elderly provides a wealth of information and a wide network of participating shelters, there are also some really helpful websites and apps out there specifically geared towards helping folks find a perfect pet to adopt. Let’s take a look at a few of them.
This site works with over 13,000 adoption groups and provides access to more than 330,000 adoptable pets. This fun and easy-to-use interface allows you to specify exactly what you’re looking for. Dogs, cats, birds, even barnyard animals, you name it, it’s on there.
In addition to their powerful search tool, they offer some really nice stories (and photos!) of pets who have been adopted. I just read a heart-warming story about Frankie, a great dog who had a tough time and now is thriving with her new family. Make sure to have a box of Kleenex nearby if you read this, however, because it’s quite a tear-jerker!
You can read more pet adoption stories here: http://www.petfinder.com/adoption-stories/
In addition to their website, they also have an iPhone app. I highly recommend visiting this site.
Much like Petfinder, Pentango offers a nice search engine to match up prospective pet owners with animals in need. It’s easy, fun, and they also have an online store.
They offer everything that a new pet owner might need, from pet food to pet medications. Petango provides all the resources that you need to find and take care of a great pet.
Probably the most well-known, and largest, of non-profit organizations for the protection of animals and pets is The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). They have been around since 1866 and have a very noble and inspiring mission: “To provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States.”
On the ASPCA website, you can find a shelter near you, get pet care tips, shop for pet products, make a donation to the ASPCA, and find out how you can get involved in helping them protect animals.
Chances are, there’s a local ASPCA facility near you. Here you can find and visit an animal in need of a loving home. They also have different opportunities for folks to volunteer, so perhaps if you love dogs but aren’t ready for that commitment, you can volunteer a day or two a week to help care for some of these dogs.
In short, there are plenty of wonderful pets who are in need of a loving home. Seniors and pets make great partners, and finding that perfect companion has never been easier thanks to the Internet!