The RHSPCA is an open admission facility. We don’t deny admission to any companion animal from our community, regardless of their behavioral or medical needs. No single group of animals presents with a greater diversity of needs than the senior pets that come to us for help. While they are all special to us, seniors like Henry, an eight-year-old hound, leave a few extra paw prints on our hearts.
Henry was in a terrible state when he first came to us, something we see all too often with senior pets. He was underweight, infested with ticks and very weary of men. It was obvious Henry had been on his own for a while. He tested positive for Lyme disease and was suffering from pain caused by joint swelling and early arthritis, two effects of the disease. His weariness of men caused him to bark and lunge when they came near him.
Senior pets account for 15% of all intakes to the RHSPCA. And cost, on average, $450 to get ready for adoption. A cost two and half times greater than that for their younger counterparts. Dental disease, bloodwork and X-rays are the most common reasons for offsite vet visits. Joint supplements, pain medication and prescription diets also contribute to the added expense.
Seven months after Henry came into our care he found his forever home. Harriet, his adopter, came in looking for a senior dog to adopt and fell in love with Henry. She recently checked in with us to update us on Henry:
“I knew I wanted a senior dog. His profile picture was so cute and when we came into the shelter to meet him, his personality was a total match! Henry moved in already knowing some basic house manners. He can be left in his crate while I’m at work and I don’t have to worry about him the way you would a puppy which made housebreaking much easier. We’re working on him being scared of men but he’s made excellent progress since we first adopted. He doesn’t have too much energy so he loves being snuggled and playing with his stuffed animals.”
Henry is just one of the 3,000 pets that came to us for help this year. It is sad when any animal is relinquished to a shelter, but senior pets coming into the shelter are especially heartbreaking. They come into our care as strays suffering from neglect, surrendered by owners unable to afford to keep them and are sometimes brought to us after their owner has passed and there is no family to take them in. We serve as their temporary family, providing for their needs, until we find them a permanent one.
Dogs like Henry wouldn’t receive the lifesaving care and a chance at finding a loving family without your support. Please consider making a donation today to ensure senior pets are looked after in their golden years.