Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Local Shelters Seek Adopters for Aging Pets

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Local Shelters Seek Adopters for Aging Pets

Article excerpt

CLIFFSIDE PARK — Their muzzles may be going gray, but older dogs need loving homes, too.

Take it from Denise Kurtz of Palisades Park, who recently adopted a 10-year-old bull mastiff mix from a shelter, and says she could see herself adopting one even older.

"It's about keeping a dog happy for their last couple of years," Kurtz said.

That's the message that shelters like Bergen County Protect and Rescue and Animal Rescue R Us want to get out to potential adopters, as older pets have a harder time being placed.

"It's a shame that most of these older dogs and cats get overlooked in the shelters, and they're really the best animals to be adopting," Diane Errichiello of Bergen County Protect and Rescue said.

According to statistics from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals' Comprehesive Animal Risk Database System in 2015, the adoption rate for dogs 7 years and older from shelters was 25 percent, compared with 60 percent for younger dogs.

Local shelters want to encourage people to give old pets a new home. To that end, Bergen County Protect and Rescue will halve its adoption fee for dogs 6 years and up and cats 1 year and older from Feb. 10 to 18.

Most people looking for a dog go for puppies, especially younger couples or couples who have or are expecting children, Errichiello said. A family with older members, she said, might be more inclined to adopt an older dog.

Older dogs have mellowed after the puppy years, and usually come with prior training, she said, adding that she recently adopted an older dog she was fostering for the shelter.

"They're well-behaved, and a lot of the time, these animals seem to be more grateful to be adopted," she said.

But while puppies and kittens are adopted quickly because they're small and cute, older animals might stay in the shelter for a long time.

At Animal Rescue R Us, 6-year-old Ellie, a terrier mix, has been with the shelter for six months, while all of her puppies were adopted out as soon as their vetting was complete. …

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