November is senior pet month at Maddie's Fund!
As some shelters find growing numbers of older pets in need of new homes for a variety of reasons, we want to know how your organization helps find homes for these gray muzzled animals.
We've seen programs that aim to connect seniors with seniors where shelters waive adoption fees when people over 60 adopt animals over 7. Or rescues like Muttville that are exclusively dedicated to taking in and finding new homes for older dogs.
What do you do to help senior pets find homes?How do you help educate potential adopters about the benefits of owning an older animal?Do you often see adopters coming in seeking out senior pets? We want to hear your experiences!
Have a senior pet success story? Share it in the comments below!
In Nashville we held a month long fee waived senior prom! We staged a fun prom themed photography area for visitors and adopters. Our local news crew jumped on board and came down to do morning segments in prom clothes!
A piece we wanted to do, but never got around to was taking yearbook style photos for our senior dogs, think along the lines of senior photos, etc.
What a fun idea!
We have a page on Facebook called Golden Nuggets. It features only seniors up for adoption. We also have a Senior of the minth. Once a month we go to Pet smart and have senior adoptions
I really don't feel like we have a success story to share. Seniors represented 17% of our intake last year, and we strive to prioritize them as much as possible; however, we rarely have adoption applicants who are willing to adopt a senior dog. We have a dedicated senior program, a senior fund, we have been publishing a senior dog ad in a large dog-centric newspaper that is local to us, we try to regularly highlight seniors on our social media, and our adoption fees for seniors are reduced. However, few people want them! My suspicion is that part of the reason we struggle so much is that we are a breed rescue for a large (and very cancer prone/medically expensive) breed. I'd love to hear ideas from other groups that have had success specifically with large breed seniors.
In 2017 we decided to up the number of senior and unadoptable dogs by 25% each transport from the Kentucky kill shelter where we get our dogs transported to Oshkosh, WI. Thanks to some generous donors we've been able to underwrite a portion of the adoption fees for some of those seniors. We recently launched a new website and added a featured dog tab with special headshots and a new bio. Within 30 minutes of posting our first senior dog, she was adopted. It took less than a day for them all to be adopted. In 2019 we plan on doing a Seniors for Seniors program targeting senior living facilities with reduced adoption fees for senior under 30-pound dogs.
I'm interested in hearing from any organizations that assist with veterinary expenses for senior pets after adoption. We are expecting a bequest we may be able to use for this purpose and would like to learn from others who have experience administering a program like this.
I think it's wonderful that you may be able to help after adoption. We do not offer any financial help after the animal leaves the shelter but try to prepare people as much as possible for what they may be facing in medical bills. This is rarely successful though. Every vet has a different idea on what needs to be done and the prices charged and it seems that public vets seldom agree with our shelter vets. I know of a few shelters that will cover an exam with certain vet clinics that will then give the shelter a discount. This becomes a challenge if you do a lot of long distance adoptions because where do you draw the line with how far you reach out? If the shelter has a full clinic on site for shelter animals, then it may be possible to do follow up care through the shelter vet after adoption but again, I don't know how feasible that would be. If I were to try and implement something right now, I'd try to offer a partial payment for tests or medication due to senior needs, such as bloodwork, arthritis care, etc. I wouldn't cover regular dog expenses such as heartworm medication, flea/tick or vaccinations as that is part of all dog ownership not just seniors. I say partial payment because I believe that people that adopt senior pets should be somewhat responsible for them. But, I also know the cost of having an animal with health issues so can understand why that is tough for a lot of people to take on. If we would cover all costs, we would just send the animal to foster care.
I think it is amazing that you might be able to assist seniors after adoption. We do long term, as in forever fosters for our seniors that might not be adopted. We continue to check in with the fosters, and many times they decide they want to adopt. We live in an economically repressed area and we understand the daunting task adopting seniors seems to be, but often times once they are foster, people fall in love and decide to adopt. Our funds are very limited, but this has really helped our golden years friends. If our adopters need help we try to assist with perhaps $100.00 if needed to let them know they aren't standing alone.
At my previous shelter, we offered two programs. The first was for pets with chronic conditions like diabetes, special diets, etc. offered treatment for that condition in our clinic for the remainder of the pets life. The second program was specifically for senior pets and we provided 4 vouchers that could be used in our clinic for anything the clinic can do in house. Our clinic was set up pretty much as a full service hospital and we could offer most care.
The senior program was a result of looking at data and seeing that the over 10 years crowd had a particularly long length of stay. Talking with adopters we found that they were afraid of the veterinary costs associated with older pets. The vouchers proved to be the safety net needed to find these older pets homes.
we are having a senior dog adoption event at Pet smart in November 17th. We also have a page on Facebook called"Golden Nuggets " which features senior dogs up for adoption