Senior Pets Need Love Too

Puppies, kittens and baby animals OH MY! The world is crazy about them and it’s understandable, they’re adorable. What Maricopa County Animal Control (MCACC) finds though, is with so many puppy and kitten-crazed adopters, the senior pets often get overlooked.

“When people come into our care centers, often times they ask us where they can find puppies, kittens or animals 2 years and younger,” Linda Soto, Shelter Division Manager, said. “We’re at a loss as to why so many people pass up our sweet, gentle and patient old timers.”

Old timers are most often just that: sweet, loving and gentle additions to families looking for lower-energy animals. While senior pets are generally classified as seven to ten years old for dogs and eleven to fourteen years old for cats , MCACC considers a senior animal to be a dog or cat five years or older.

“This is the age that we start to see these guys sticking around at the shelter for longer periods of time,” Agency spokes, Melissa Gable said. “Once they hit this age we see them start having a tougher time getting adopted.”

MCACC sees many benefits of adopting a senior pet, but don’t just take it from them.

After having recently lost their beloved Coonhound, Amanda Nelson and nine-year-old daughter, Sophie had been wanting to adopt, but waiting for the perfect pet. They saw seven-year-old dog, Spring (now Ruby), featured on Channel 12 as MCACC’s pet of the week.

“I looked at Sophie and said, “Should we go see if we can adopt her?” Nelson said. “The look on her face said it all.”

Nelson described Ruby as the “perfect combination of laid-back and playful” in the shelter and after her transition at home. Ruby loves to play with their other dog and snuggle up with, or watch out for her people at home. Nelson explained that she is well-trained, knows how to sit and shake, walks well on a leash and has not had a single accident in their home.

“Ruby’s age was not a concern,” Nelson said, “I absolutely would adopt another senior dog. They are generally calm, already trained and make for an easy transition.”

Describing Ruby as “perfect,” the Nelsons have a loving new addition to their household and Ruby has a forever family.

MCACC suggests you consider these benefits of senior pet adoption when thinking about adopting a new furry friend:

Older pets are usually trained: A lot of older dogs know commands such as sit, stay and lay down. If they don’t, you can train them yourself through obedience school or with a trainer. Many senior pets are already housetrained or litterbox trained, this lends to an easier transition period after adoption.

They are more gentle/calm/patient: Older pets create a more serene and calming atmosphere. They are good for almost any type of home, but MCACC suggests they go to homes looking for lower energy animals.

They still have a little spunk in them: Don’t let them fool you; older pets are calm, but they still have spunk and personality. You won’t be getting a boring old dog, you’ll be getting a furry friend who will slowly begin to show you their personality and who they are.

They generally won’t destroy your personal belongings: Puppies, while they are cute, get into everything. They chew furniture, clothes, shoes and more. Older dogs and cats are generally past this phase. They are content with laying around, getting love and attention and don’t need to destroy the house to feel accomplished.

You will know exactly what the pet looks like: Older dogs are full grown, you will not have any surprises as to how big they will grow as you do with younger dogs/puppies. Same with cats, no surprises there.

You can be a hero: Older dogs have a tougher time getting adopted, by giving one a home you take them out of the shelter environment and allow them freedom and a loving home. THAT will feel good, and they will make sure you know it.

“If you come in looking for a puppy or kitten and don’t find what you’re looking for, we ask that you don’t just go home,” Gable said. “Take a look around at all of our pets and broaden your requirements. Who knows, you just may fall in love with a grey-haired little guy, don’t rule anything out.”

Adopting dogs five years or older is just $20, and cats five years or older have their adoption fee waived. All pets are spayed and neutered, and dogs over three months of age are rabies vaccinated and go home with their county dog license.

MCACC has hundreds of dogs and cats in their animal care centers and all need loving homes. Follow MCACC on twitter (@MCanimalcare) and Facebook (Maricopa County Animal Care and Control) or visit to keep up with news and updates on adoptable dogs and cats.

Consider adopting a senior pet today, their wrinkles and adorable greying noses are hard to resist, trust us.

Check out the seniors below.



Maddie NecklaceMeet Maddie, our spunky five-year-old friend. True, at five-years-young she’s not REALLY a senior, but dogs five years and older average a shelter stay three times longer than their puppy counterparts. Plus, by calling her a “senior” we get to automatically reduce her adoption fee in the hopes of placing her into a home quickly.

Maddie is an adventurer! This girl doesn’t like to sit still for long because there are just SO many things to see and do! Maddie loves to go on walks and sniff around and explore. We think her perfect day would be a nice long hike and then curling up on the couch with you. Sure, we know it’s a little hot out now for hiking so you’ll just have to take Maddie on a trip somewhere nice! Think of all the fun you could have together! If you’re looking for a loving, loyal, smart “partner in crime”- MADDIE is your girl!
You can adopt Maddie at Maricopa County Animal Care & Control’s West Valley Animal Care Center (2500 S. 27th Avenue) in Phoenix. She’s currently in Building C. Maddie’s adoption fee is $20 – she’s spayed, rabies vaccinated and will go home with her County dog license. Please keep in mind, Maddie may have already found a home by the time you arrive at our shelter, but there are many other animals in search of loving families.


Kingston Hawaiian - 1Meet Kingston! Yep, he’s Chihuahua royalty and he’s looking for a palace to call his own. Kingston is a super cool looking dog with his sleek black coat and bright eyes. He’s got a GREAT personality to match those looks too. Kingston is a super happy, friendly and outgoing little guy who loved us the second we met him…and the feeling was mutual.

Kingston has a fun energy and is so ready for an adventure! He’ll do the most adorable little dance on his hind legs for treats and is a true love-bug, wiggle-butt. It was “insta-love” when we met this guy and we’re sure you’ll feel the same way if you come in to meet him!

Two-year-old Kingston is available at Maricopa County Animal Care & Control’s West Valley Animal Care Center (2500 S. 27th Avenue) in Phoenix, his adoption fee is just $20.

Kingston is not yet neutered and will need to stay an extra day for surgery. Please keep in mind, Kingston may have already found a home by the time you arrive at our shelter, but there are many other animals in search of loving families.


Dino IISay hello to Dino. He’s DINOmite. This little Chihuahua mix is 10-years-old and full of spunk. In fact, he still enjoys playing with toys and carrying them around in his mouth (so cute). Dino has so much character in his smushy little face and a great personality to match his adorable looks. Dino is super sweet and loves pets and cuddles. Dino could use a little TLC in his furever home to get his coat back into shape and help him gain a little weight- Dino was a stray that came into the shelter and it looks like he hasn’t had the best nutrition. If you’re looking for a loveable little lap dog you can mean the world to, come on in to meet Dino!

Dino is available at Maricopa County Animal Care & Control’s West Valley Animal Care Center (2500 S. 27th Avenue) in Phoenix. You can find him in K-WING – look for his Adopt Me sign on the window. Dino’s adoption fee is just $20. He needs to be neutered and will need to stay an extra day or two for surgery. He’s rabies vaccinated and will go home with his County dog license. Dino has an old injury to his eye, but it doesn’t appear to bother him and it certainly doesn’t slow him down. Please keep in mind, Dino may have already found a home by the time you arrive at our shelter, but there are many other animals in search of loving families.

Senior Pets Need Love Too

by Editor time to read: 8 min