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Adopting older pet a rewarding experience

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Naperville Sun
by Sandy Boston, Special to the Sun
August 19, 2010

Sandy Boston, President of A.D.O.P.T. Pet Shelter

Are you one of the hundreds of animal-lovers who added a puppy to your family this year?

If so, hopefully you adopted from a local animal shelter, perhaps from A.D.O.P.T. Pet Shelter.

We at A.D.O.P.T. Pet Shelter typically have available for adoption quite a few puppies, including highly desirable purebreds. However, the majority of our residents are adults, including seniors. In addition, A.D.O.P.T. accepts into its adoption program many special-needs animals -- animals likely would have been euthanized elsewhere because they are considered by some to be "unadoptable." We at A.D.O.P.T. believe every animal deserves fair and proper treatment and a permanent, loving home.

Adopting an older or special-needs dog, and watching him/her evolve into a confident, loving family member is one of the most rewarding experiences I have known. I adopted my dog Maggy eight years ago. At age 4, she arrived at A.D.O.P.T. with a fractured pelvis, eye injury, serious heart murmur and a fear of humans. Who knows what she had experienced in the years before her arrival at A.D.O.P.T.? With patience, attention and the support of her human and canine family members, Maggy has evolved into a confident, well-rounded girl who is lucky to be alive thanks to the caring volunteers at A.D.O.P.T. who rescued her and brought her into A.D.O.P.T.'s program.

One of the challenges of older dogs is the potential limitation on number of years you have to share with them. I adopted my English pointer Sally in 2005. I was aware that she had had malignant mammary tumors, which were completely removed, but she did have the history of cancer. She was such a sweet girl that I could not even think of not giving her a chance to be part of our family.

When she arrived at our home, she found her place instantly. She thrived with us for 4½ years. While her loss last year was devastating, the companionship and joy she added to our family was priceless. Sally, like all older and special-needs dogs and cats seeking homes, deserved to live the rest of her years being loved and cared for by a family of her own.

Trixie

While some older dogs like Sally have medical concerns, the majority simply are older and through no fault of their own find themselves homeless. Trixie, a lively Jack Russell mix, and Igloo, a small terrier mix, are two of our current seniors. Both are looking for a special family who is willing to open their home and heart to a slightly older dog. You can meet Trixie and Igloo along with their canine friends at A.D.O.P.T. Pet Shelter during regular adoption hours. Please visit www.adoptpetshelter.org for details.

Sandy Boston has been volunteering with A.D.O.P.T. since 1990 when she adopted her first dog. Since then she has adopted nine additional dogs, eight of whom have been older or have had special needs. Sandy is the president of A.D.O.P.T. Pet Shelter.

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