They may lack the fluffy frivolity of their younger compatriots, but mature animals are an ideal match for people who want a more hassle-free pet experience, says a pet adoption expert.
With senior-age animals, categorized as 7 and older, the hard work of adjusting to home life is already done, said Jeanine Cloyd, volunteer manager for the Chattanooga Humane Educational Society.
"They're not hyper, so they're pretty mellow and easygoing. You just don't have to go through that crazy puppy stage," she said, adding that most mature pets are housebroken and may have obedience training.
Some older animals end up in shelters when elderly owners die or move to a nursing facility. Mature dogs are more commonly dropped off than cats, Cloyd said.
Before adopting an older animal, potential owners should be aware of the potential for added expenses. Common health problems include dental cleaning and arthritis, which can be treated with over-the-counter medication, Cloyd said.
Adopters often ask whether advanced age affects an animal's ability to bond again, but Cloyd said in her experience the exact opposite is true.
"We find that you can spend 15 minutes to an hour, and we're amazed to see shelter pets act like you're their person and always have been," she said. "It's like they know you're rescuing them."