A growing number of shelters and rescues focus on senior pet dogs and cats. Have a look at what these organizations do, a few of the challenges they deal with, and why they choose to focus on older animals.
There’s no end to the work that happens in animal shelters and rescues– from consumption documentation to nursing ill canines and cats back to health. For those companies that focus on senior animals, there’s much more work to be done, because looking after older pets and felines is challenging in addition to gratifying. Let’s explore what goes inside the walls of these unique companies, and shine a deserving light on the heroes who work there.
A day in the life
For those who operate in senior shelters and saves, the work is never ever “typical”. Though specific regimens are in place to offer the animals, personnel and volunteers a sense of consistency, many days present unforeseeable scenarios, such as veterinary emergency situations, that need quick thinking and adaptation.
According to Sheila Kullar, President of the Board at Senior Animals In Need Today Society (SAINTS), a typical day at the sanctuary involves the following:
- Cleaning up accidents that occurred overnight
- Feeding breakfast, lunch and supper to the animals
- Medicating the animals that require it
- Cleaning the facility (i.e. sweeping, doing meals, restocking, scooping poop, and doing lots of loads of laundry)
- Letting the animals outside throughout the day, walking specific canines, and providing off-leash exercise
- Grooming and wound care
- Keeping records of the animals’ health
- Handling administrative tasks such as admissions, adoptions and contributions
“Some days there are new arrivals, some days animals die, and some days there are medical emergencies,” adds Sheila.
In addition to unpredictability comes varying degrees of challenge. Some tasks, such as tidying up after the animals, are simpler. But biding farewell to their four-legged homeowners when they pass is always hard. One of the biggest challenges is taking in older animals that have dealt with years of overlook.
“If we take in a 14-year-old dog with a mouth filled with rotten teeth, for instance, it costs us a lot and puts the canine at risk,” states Megan Snyder, director of Good Old Tails Senior Animal Rescue. “Only infrequently do we discover animals that have been entirely vetted and well looked after. And the longer an animal has actually lived without proper care, the more time there has actually been for major problems to collect.”
Alice Mayn, Executive Director and Founder of Lily’s Legacy Senior Dog Sanctuary, concurs. “Seeing pets can be found in shocked and in varying degrees of illness is the most challenging part of what we do,” she states (see sidebar at right for among Alice’s rescue stories).
The pros surpass the cons
In spite of the obstacles and unpredictability of working with senior animals in a shelter or rescue setting, the advantages are numerous. For Alice, seeing ill dogs recuperate both physically and emotionally, and find brand-new permanently homes, makes it all well worth the effort.
“The finest part of the task is knowing that no matter for how long we have these animals, whether they get adopted or not, they will not pass away alone,” states Megan. “They have a household who loves them, soft beds to lie in, and access to healthy food and fresh water. Whether they live a few more years, months, and even days, these are often the best times they’ve ever experienced.”
Sheila seconds this belief. While it’s basic understanding that much of the animals senior shelters and saves take in won’t live long enough to discover their permanently houses, there’s a sense of peace and fulfilment that originates from understanding they’ll pass in a safe place where they’re well cared for. “It’s satisfying to know that we have supplied love, correct healthcare, and enrichment to these animals before they pass,” she says. “The philosophy of SAINTS is to supply care before end of life, and when it’s done adoringly we understand we have done our job.”
The adoption process
Obviously, not all senior animals live their final days at the shelter or rescue. Some, as is the objective, find homes for them in their last years or months. Due to the fact that senior pet dogs and cats require more specific care than more youthful animals, the organizations have to take additional actions to ensure the families they position them with are a great fit.
At Lily’s Legacy, Alice and her group try to find the following requirements when looking for adopters for their senior dogs. Prospective adopters need to:
- Be able to manage the care of a senior canine, medically and mentally, on a daily basis.
- Be dedicated to the life time care of the pet dog they are embracing
- Have a fenced backyard and the capability to exercise the pet every day
- Have a clear understanding of the needs of the pet they are embracing
- Total an in-depth application and agree to a home see. Personal and veterinary referral checks are also part of the process.
The requirements are similar at Good Old Tails. Megan states their expectations for adopters are affordable, thinking about the main goal is constantly to discover permanently houses for their animals. “Seniors normally require more regular potty breaks and a home without small children, however they normally require less workout and are fine being left without supervision,” she says. “We’re really sincere about the physical and emotional requirements of our animals, so we do our best to set adopters up for success.”
There’s nothing quite as rewarding as helping a senior pet or cat in requirement!
Senior rescue profiles
Lily’s Legacy Senior Dog Sanctuary
Area: Petaluma, CA
Year established: 2009
Variety of animals in their care: 12 to15 at their five-acre sanctuary, plus canines in foster and/or hospice care (this number differs)
Types of animal they take care of: Large type senior dogs, 7 years and older, and 50 pounds and much heavier
Good Old Tails Senior Animal
Rescue Area: Hanover, PA
Year established: 2015
Variety of animals in their care: Eight to ten adoptable felines and six to 8 adoptable pets
Types of animal they take care of: Dogs and felines, and any other animals in dire need
Senior Animals In Need Today Society (SAINTS)
Location: Mission, BC
Year established: 2004
Number of animals in their care: 120 onsite and 40 in foster homes
Types of animal they care for: Dogs and cats, along with bunnies, domestic stock, domestic birds, and one turtle