New Homes For Older Animals In Shelters

Like humans, animals also have basic needs that need to be met for a long and quality life. Unfortunately, not all of them can find responsible and compassionate owners who will go the extra mile for their comfort and safety. It is not uncommon to see animals in shelters until they die. It is more challenging to look for new owners for older animals because most pet owners prefer to adopt younger animals to be their new pets. It is the reason why many older animals stay in the shelter far longer and may not even be lucky enough to find a new owner in their (short) lifetime.

Since only a handful considers adopting these orphaned older animals, some groups are advocating for them to get adopted and have these local animal shelters cleared of these poor, unfortunate animals. And there is an urgent need for these things to be actually done as more and more animals end up in shelters way faster than they get adopted (if they even get adopted at all). Most of these animals are already traumatized even before hitting the shelter and they end up more traumatized being cooped up in their tiny cages alongside many others of their kind.

For the next month, 10 On Your Side is partnering with 13 local animal shelters to get as many pets adopted as possible.

It’s a nation-wide initiative called “Clear the Shelters” and last year, more than 70,000 pets found homes because of it.

“We have a wonderful group of adoptable animals,” said Ellen Thacker, Executive Director of the Peninsula SPCA.  “The faster we can get them out of the shelter, the better it is for them mentally and physically.

The Peninsula SPCA is one of the shelters participating in “Clear the Shelters.” Their goal for the initiative is to get their “special needs” pets with loving families. “By special needs, I mean pets who may be older or pets that have a physical situation going on,” Thacker explained.

The Virginia Beach SPCA also hopes you look at their older dogs, like Grumpy and Lucy, who were born in the same litter.


Adopting an older animal from an animal shelter not only do your family good with a new pet to keep you company at home but more so for the animals who are desperate for the love of a new human family that will treat them as one of their own. The shelter staff can even help you pick the right pet for you as they know these animals better while caring for them in the shelter. Not only are these animals adoptable but perhaps these animals want to get adopted too even if they can’t speak our language.

It’s a packed house at the Seattle Animal Shelter.

“We’re full to the gills,” said Acting Director Ann Graves.

Between the dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, and a few other critters as they call them, staff and volunteers have been busy getting animals ready for adoptions. This weekend, adoptions are free, including spay and neutering, vaccinations, micro-chipping, and a $20 gift card to Mud Bay. All you have to pay is the required licensing fee between $24 and $70.

“If we can get the animals that are ready to go, out the door into their forever homes more quickly, then that gives us more space,” said Graves.

And more time to take care of the other animals at the shelter for a variety of reasons; some were confiscated and part of an investigation, others are being looked after temporarily because their owners aren’t quite able to give them the care they need. It’s a balancing act for Graves, who’s been working here for the past 17 years.

“These guys are waiting to go home. Come and get them,” she said.


Not all animals in the shelter get lucky and get adopted. It’s their sad reality. It is the reason why some shelters are going the extra mile to find new homes for older animals in their care by grooming them and making sure they are healthy to catch the attention of their new owners as these same shelters are now raising awareness on why these animals need to get adopted ASAP. A home with animals in it is a little more lively and pleasant to live in, so take the risk and become the next pet parent for older animals in shelters in dire need of human care and affection.

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