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Lonely at the Holidays? Adopt a Senior Pet (And Get Paid $200 To Gain a Furry Friend)

The purr-fect addition to your family.

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There’s one thing we can probably all agree on: Having a pet boosts paws-itivity. There’s nothing like a sweet, furry companion to brighten your days — and right now, there’s even more incentive to get one. Pet food brand Stella & Chewy’s is reimbursing the adoption fees for senior pets from now until November 30.

Why November, and why older pets? Well, senior cats and dogs need a little extra love this time of year; summer is generally when most people give up their pets for adoption. Sadly, older pets tend to get stuck in shelters well into the fall (and some even spend years there). Young pups and kittens have a 60 percent adoption rate, while senior animals have a 25 percent adoption rate.

And while it’s incredibly generous to give an older pet a fur-ever home, it’s not just about the benefits for the animal; an older dog or cat may make a wonderful contribution to your happiness, too. Many owners agree that their pet has grown wiser with age, and a senior animal can be lower maintenance in some ways. Read on to uncover the benefits of a senior pet, and how to get your adoption fee reimbursed this month.

How To Get Your Adoption Fee Reimbursed

Already have an older pup or cat in mind? It’s super easy to get that adoption fee reimbursed — just follow the two steps below. If you’re selected for a reimbursement, you will receive a check in the mail of the exact amount you paid for the adoption, up to $200. Read all of the terms and conditions here and find the steps here:

  1. Fill out the Senior Pet Adoption Form on Stella & Chewy’s website.
  2. Upload the required documentation, including proof of adoption, proof of paid adoption fees, and a photo of your adopted pet. All files must be in PDF or JPG format.

Bonus: If your application meets the requirements, you will also get a $40 voucher for Stella & Chewy’s Dog & Cat Food Products (except for treats). As with any giveaway, there are rules, which include:

  1. The pet must be a cat or dog.
  2. Your pet must be at least five years old at the time of the adoption.
  3. You must have adopted your pet in the month of November (from the 1st to the 30th).
  4. The pet must come from either a licensed 501(c)(3) non-profit shelter or rescue organization in the US or a rescue organization that is a registered charity in Canada.
  5. The full adoption fee must be visible on the receipt from the adoption organization.
  6. The reimbursement will not cover sales tax, transport fees, veterinary fees, or processing fees.
  7. Stella & Chewy’s must receive your paperwork by December 31, 2022.
  8. Stella & Chewy’s has a cap of $100,000, or 500 pet adoptions — whichever comes first. That means these reimbursements are on a first-come, first-serve basis. So, go get yours now!

Why You Should Adopt a Senior Pet

Seven years ago, my family and I adopted a dog. She was already 6 years old, but we fell in love as soon as we saw her photo: a sprightly Samoyed named Eva with a glint in her eye, lips curved into a smile, and a coat as white and fluffy as a cloud. She came with a few bad habits — barking and lunging at cars, rolling in smelly mud. But those concerns flew out the window when we met her. She hopped in our car when one of us accidentally opened the door in her presence. She was incredibly docile, and nuzzled up for pets. In a week, she was ours.

Eva is 13 now, and if she hadn’t been put up for adoption until this year, I’d still take her over a puppy. Don’t misunderstand me — puppies are adorable — but I’ve loved owning a senior dog. My family and I trained away her bad habits using praise and treats. We didn’t have to house-train her or teach her basic commands (she already knew those things). She’s less maintenance, too, snoozing for hours rather than zooming around or chewing on shoes. Walks are short because of her arthritis, but still a great opportunity to enjoy the fresh air. The best part? She’s the sweetest companion, keeping me company and lifting my spirits when the house is empty.

Science backs up the idea that pets are good for mental health. While research on human-animal relationships is still relatively new, some studies have shown that interacting with animals decreases cortisol (the stress hormone) and blood pressure. Other studies have found that animals reduce loneliness and boost mood. It’s no wonder that hospitals and non-profits use therapy dogs and cats to relieve stress and anxiety.

The Downsides of Owning a Senior Pet

Of course, not everything about owning a senior pet is easy. Before adopting, some cats and dogs develop expensive health issues with age. Also, older pets may need help getting from the floor to the couch, or from the ground to the car, and heavier dogs can pose an issue if you can’t lift them. Pet insurance and dog or cat ramps can help alleviate these problems, but they’re things to keep in mind.

You may be worried that your age makes it too difficult to own a pet of your own. Retirement probably gives you more time to take care of a dog or cat, but a pension or tight monthly income can make it hard to pay for food and vet visits. Talk to your family members about your desire to have a pet to see if you can find a solution. Having a sweet companion could change your life; in 2018, BBC News reported a story on a 104-year-old man, Milt Lessner, who fostered a senior dog for as long as he was able.

“In no time at all, we were quite friendly with each other,” he said. “She’s very conciliatory and very agreeable. We’re trying to stay in good health, both of us. So far, we’ve succeeded.”

The Benefits of Senior Pets, According to a Survey

A survey conducted by Stella & Chewy’s confirmed a lot of my beliefs about senior pets. Out of 2,000 US dog and cat owners, 71 percent of people agreed that their pet has gotten smarter with age; 69 percent said that their cat or dog had gotten more obedient; and an impressive 87 percent believed that senior pets can learn new tricks. The most heartwarming statistic of all: 90 percent of respondents believed that owning a senior pet had a positive impact on their life. “Senior pets provide a new outlook on life and remind pet owners to cherish each day,” a Stella & Chewy’s spokesperson said.

The takeaway? If you’re thinking of adopting an older cat or dog, now is the perfect time to do it. Already have an adopted pet of your own? Tell us your adoption story in the comments.

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