In honor of Adopt a Senior Pet Month in November, the Castaic Animal Care Center is offering $7 adoptions on any dog 7 or older and free cat adoptions throughout the month.
The low price point is to encourage the public to consider adding a senior pet to their family, according to volunteer Larissa Barnes.
“Senior dogs and cats are often overlooked. We want you to see how special they are, to stop and take a look into their eyes and see how much love they have to give,” she said.
Coleman, a 13 year old American Staffordshire Terrier mix, is one of several dogs looking for a second chance at love.
He came into the center on Oct. 8 as a stray. Since then, Coleman has quickly won the hearts of staff and volunteers with his charming personality and handsome salt-and-pepper face.
“He passed his temperament with flying colors,” Barnes said. “Coleman’s leash trained, knows commands, and likes other dogs. He’d make a fantastic companion for any big dog lover.”
On the feline side, Bugs is a large, grey and white 8 year old who originally came into the center with another cat, who got adopted. He now lives in a free roam cat room, where he can a bit shy at first, but quickly warms up.
“Spend a few minutes with Bugs and he’ll be coming over for attention. He loves cuddles and pets,” Barnes said. “He has a really nice demeanor and would really like to live with another cat or with someone who’s home a lot.”
There are many benefits to adopting a senior pet, as Barnes illustrated.
“You already know their personality, unlike a kitten or puppy, who may grow up not to like other pets or get along with kids,” she said.
Senior pets have already bypassed the behaviors attributed to younger dogs and cats, such as chewing unwanted items or scratching the furniture. Most have lived in a home and acclimate really nicely to being part of a family again, especially those with a busy lifestyle.
“They’re mellow and don’t require a lot of walks or activity,” Barnes said.
Having several adopted senior pets of her own, Barnes has noticed something unique in how they bond.
“Senior pets really appreciate the home and the love that you give them,” she said. “It’s an extra special relationship.”
That’s certainly been the case for Linda Metzler of Valencia, who adopted Remmie, a 13 year old male Shit Tzu, from the center two weeks ago.
Metzler and her family originally met Remmie shortly beforehand, while adopting a two year old pit bull mix named Chevy.
Remmie had been surrendered with another senior dog, who had been adopted so he was alone and appeared depressed. He was also a bit neglected and in need of dental care.
While they loved Chevy, the Metzlers couldn’t get Remmie out of their mind.
“We just kept thinking about him. Finally, my youngest son said, ‘I really like that dog, we need to go back,’” Metzler said.
Upon joining the Metzler pack, Remmie has quickly become the unofficial favorite. His big brother Chevy showers the Shih Tzu with kisses and the kids fight over who gets to sleep with him.
Remmie has scored additional perks because of his small stature and senior status, according to Metzler.
“We don’t allow the dogs on the couch, but Remmie immediately jumped up not just on the couch, but against a pillow,” she said. “We’re going to let him stay on the couch.”
This is not the first time Metzler has adopted a senior dog and it most likely won’t be the last. While she loves puppies, she doesn’t miss the work involved.
“Older dogs already know the routine, they’re usually potty-trained, good on the leash and obedient,” she said.
Metzler acknowledged that Remmie may only have a few years left, but she is committed to making that time count. She’s already taken him to the vet for a dental procedure and will continue to treat any new medical needs, as well as provide lots of love.
“When you get older, don’t you want someone that wants to care for you?” she said. “Dogs like Remmie deserve a happy life. In return, they make you happy.”
The Castaic Animal Care Center is located at 31044 N. Charlie Canyon Road, Castaic. Hours of operation are Monday – Thursday, noon to 7 p.m., and Friday – Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit www.animalcare.lacounty.gov or call (661) 257-3191.