SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Oftentimes when people are looking to bring a four-legged friend home they tend to choose younger pups and kittens and look past some of the older pets housed at shelters.

“He’s brought youthfulness into me and I think at the same time I’m helping keep him a little more youthful,” Paul Bushey of Springfield explains of having an older dog.

Every year 6.3 million cats and dogs enter animal shelters nationwide many in need of a second chance and a forever home. The devastating reality is senior pets have a 25% adoption rate, compared to a 60% adoption rate for younger pets.

While people oftentimes turn to a younger pet to take home, there are so many advantages to having an elder companion. They tend to require little to no training and are lower energy. And typically shelters have a lot of background information on them to help you find one that best fits your lifestyle and needs.

“If you’re older yourself and you’re thinking about a dog a senior dog, it isn’t going to be like a puppy. It isn’t going to want to be running and going out on weekends and go hiking. An older pet is going to enjoy couch time and a little tv watching with you. So it can be a really nice match for your lifestyle with an older pet,” Lee Chambers at Dakin Humane Society said.

Knowledge of the type of pet you are adopting is hugely beneficial when considering how a pet can fit into your life.

Paul Bushey of Springfield says his 5-year-old dog Chef helps him maintain a healthy lifestyle, “He gets me out of the house so obviously I have to get him to the park every morning. So that’s his morning routine. He gets grumpy if he doesn’t go to the park so he keeps my life active and full of happiness he’s my pride and joy.”

People make a lot of assumptions about older animals, like thinking a pet was relinquished due to behavioral or health issues. But sometimes these senior pets were relinquished because their families were unable to keep them due to lifestyle changes.

“These pets just have so much to give. You can take this pet that for whatever reason is in the shelter that so often has nothing to do with them or any fault or their own and give them a home. And give them a new family and you will feel gratitude.

They have great personalities and good health. And you can be a hero.

Clear The Shelters

Melissa Torres is a reporter who has been a part of the 22News team since 2021. Follow Melissa on X @melissatorrestv and view her bio to see more of her work.