Adopt a Senior Pet Month

"He is what people think of when they think of Old Friends (an area of Dogtown where older and wiser pups reside)," says caregiver Lauren Casterline. She is talking about Brewster, a handsome, brindle-colored dog with a frosted muzzle. Brewster was in a foster program at the shelter he was in, but he kept getting overlooked. His caregivers think it might be because of his age (he is 10), though they describe him as "a mellow gentleman," who is "totally happy," gets along with everyone he meets, and would love nothing more than to sit and be petted for hours.

This November could be his lucky month. In honor of Adopt a Senior Pet Month, Brewster and other senior pets at Best Friends get top billing, and there are some awesome incentives for adopters, all in hopes that these great animals will find the families they've been waiting for.

Senior dogs and cats hoping for a forever home

Across the road from Old Friends, in the Best Friends laundry room (where some of our most delicate charges reside so they can receive extra love and attention), lives Scooter, a very tiny nine-year-old Chihuahua who came to Best Friends after his person died. Shy at first, Scooter turns into a cuddle bug once he gets to know you. If he can't sleep on your lap, he'll curl up inside of a laundry basket with a blanket and a toy or two.

Senior cats Patches and Roxie enjoy a little playtimeMeanwhile, at Cat World Headquarters, the young cats have nothing on Patches when it comes to agility. Despite being on a special diet for a digestive disorder (and having no teeth), she is impressively active for her 16 years. She even does clicker training with Dr. Frank McMillan, director of well-being studies at Best Friends. For a treat, and a few words of praise, she will leap effortlessly from table to chair to table, across a conference room.

Further down the road, another Cat World resident, Coodles, is continuing his wait for a home of his own. A Good Samaritan rescued him when he was a young stray. It's taken him a long time to learn not to be frightened of people, and even now, at 11 years old, Coodles is still a bit reserved around them. His shyness may well be the reason he has been overlooked for so long. But this handsome tabby boy, with striking amber eyes, is bound to catch someone's attention sooner or later.

A month-long pet adoption promotion

Brewster the senior dog would love a home during Adopt a Senior Pet MonthBrewster, Scooter, Patches and Coodles are just a few of the special dogs and cats Best Friends is featuring during Adopt a Senior Pet Month. This November, Best Friends has partnered with Banfield Pet Hospital, a network of veterinary hospitals located in PetSmart stores across the nation, to educate the public about the plight of senior pets in shelters and rescue organizations, and to promote the adoption of pets ages eight and up.

There are many good reasons to consider adopting an older pet: They've already gone through that puppy or kitten phase, so they are often calmer and more focused. They know that chew toys and scratching posts are better, and more appropriate, choices for playing with than shoes or the couch. Many of them are already housetrained and on a regular schedule of potty breaks. And, very often, senior pets are overlooked in shelters even though they are every bit as loveable - and as capable of giving love - as that cute little puppy or kitten. In fact, many senior pets seem to know when they've been given a second chance, and are grateful, and all the more loyal and loving, for it.

Senior animal wellness

If unending love and devotion aren't enough of an incentive for adopting a senior pet, Banfield is offering free wellness plans for the first 10 seniors adopted from the Sanctuary during the promotion. These wellness plans, each a $400 to $500 value, cover services, including veterinary exams, blood work, dental cleaning, and vaccinations for a full year, plus a generous percentage off of additional services. Best Friends will also cover the costs of flights home for the first 10 senior pets adopted during the promotion.

As our featured pets, and so many others, demonstrate, age does not necessarily mean infirmity or inactivity. So, this November, give a senior pet at the Sanctuary (or at your local shelter) the chance he or she deserves, and find the friend you've been waiting for.

See upcoming pet adoption events around the country

Photos by Best Friends staff