Finding Homes for Older Homeless Pets

Older pets are often the last to be chosen. But anyone who has been owned by an older pet knows they have so much to give and teach us and should not be overlooked. Animal lovers can help their local shelter in finding homes for these pests, and don’t forget to involve your kids! Here are a few ideas to help these older guys and gals find their forever homes.

Develop a network of foster homes for older pets that could lead to permanent homes.

Have you ever noticed how much attention feline or canine residents of public places get? Here in Santa Fe, a cat named Sally has the run of several art galleries and in one upscale gallery has her own antique chair for naps.

What about a “Pets at Work” program in which older pets are fostered by owners of retail stores, art galleries, pet-related stores, the director of your public library, or any place that invites lots of traffic. The older pets could go to work with their foster parents and be seen by many potential owners. Customers or patrons could spread the word. Prepare a flyer so customers or patrons can pass along these pets’ “business cards.” Ask your local newspaper and TV stations to run a story about these seniors and this program.

Help your community understand the joy these older pets can bring to all of us.

– Conduct a contest for owners of older pets to write a short story or poem explaining how much that pet means to their families. Ask for entries by age: teenagers, under 12, and adults. Work with your local newspaper to publish these stories, along with photos, in print editions and online. Upload videos of these pets to the shelter’s website and your community’s online newspaper. Find sponsors to donate prize money for the best in each category. After the contest, offer a series of special adoption days just for older pets.

– Prepare flyers, videos, and online stories about your shelter’s older pets. Put videos on YouTube and the shelter’s website. Ask shelter supporters to embed these videos on their website and link to your site. Update each pet’s story as needed, including placement in his forever home. Include these stories in any print or online animal shelter newsletter. Set up a page on the shelter website just for older pets. Rotate the photos of older pets on the shelter website home page.

– Ask your local media to partner with you in a campaign to find homes for these older guys and gals. Make frequent contact with your local newspaper and TV station(s) concerning older pets in particular need, such as those losing their homes to foreclosure. Write stories about older shelter pets and distribute these to your local newspaper and TV stations. Explain the rewards of adopting older pets — already trained, more calm, more appropriate for senior citizens, etc. Include photos and stories of recently adopted older shelter pets. Ask TV reporters to feature some of your older pets and explain to viewers why they’re homeless.

Prepare a series of ads for your local paper to showcase older pets waiting to be adopted.

Twelve year old Australian shepherd looking for a home which deserves my love. My last human didn’t have time for me. I’m experienced and know how to treat a lady. My loyalty knows no bounds. I’d love to meet you if you promise to love me as much as I’ll love you.

Ten year old tuxedo cat is well dressed and has a personality to match. Perfect manners and anxious to please, he’s adorable and waiting for you to take him home.

I’m an eleven year old calico cat with experience as broad as the colors of my coat. I’ll share everything I’ve learned. All I ask is a loving forever home.

Set up a fund to buy pet insurance for anyone who adopts an older pet.

Often people hesitate to adopt since they’re concerned about approaching medical bills. If your shelter has a “friends” group, ask for their help in fundraising or asking for donors. Contact pet insurance companies about any volume discounts or help you can get with this program.

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