Regardless of the strength of the bond between a person and their household pet, the realisation that your four-legged friend has grown old can actually come as a surprise.
Traits that were once a hallmark of your pet’s personality regress slowly, and before you know it, the most energetic and inquisitive member of your household would rather rest in a warm place, rather than go for a walk.
Most families embrace their pet as it grows older, but unfortunately, there are a growing number of older cats and dogs that find their way to shelters and pounds.
This often results in the majority of these older animals being put down, as those who choose to rescue dogs from these situations are not usually willing to bring home an older pet.
Thankfully, a retirement home for elderly cats and dogs has recently opened in the United States, with the sole purpose of bringing some love and happiness back into the lives of older canines and kitties.
Located in the town of Woodstock, Illinois, a facility called Young at Heart houses dogs and cats that are over the age of seven and looking for a chance to find new owners who will appreciate their love and companionship.
This brand new facility was made possible through generous donations and fundraising from members of the public and fuelled by the dedication of a group of selfless animal lovers who volunteer their time.
Young at Heart comes equipped with features that have been created specifically to meet the needs of older pets, including an abundance of natural light, generous outdoor space and heated floors to warm the heart and paws.
Although this facility offers a comfortable home to ageing cats and dogs, the intent is to actually find families that are willing to adopt an older pet and provide it with the love and appreciation that it deserves.
The heartbreaking experience that a number of older pets face is highlighted on the Young at Heart website, along with the benefits that come with adopting an older pet:
“These animals had once been loved, cherished, and part of a family- until one day they were no longer wanted. Often, an older dog or cat sits patiently in a shelter, awaiting a soft voice, a kind-hand, or even a friendly glance.
“They sit and wait, often scared, often depressed, and almost always overlooked by potential adopters.
“Passed by for younger dogs and cats, these pets are often just what an adopter is looking for – quiet, calm, housebroken, good with kids, affectionate and easily acclimated to a new home. Yet, they sit and wait for someone to love them, until many times, it is too late.”
Young at Heart has made the prices associated with pet adoption very affordable and currently offers a 50% discount for people who are 65-years-of-age an older who are looking for an older four-legged friend.
People don’t come with Use-By dates, and neither do animals – so if you ever make the decision to adopt a dog from a shelter or pound – please don’t let a few grey whiskers detract from the loving eyes of an animal who just wants the chance to call your house a home.