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Little Shelter Animal Rescue

10 Great Reasons to Open Your Heart to a Senior Pet

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10 Great Reasons to Open Your Heart to a Senior Pet

Imagine a pet that loves sharing quiet moments with you… one that doesn’t chew or scratch everything in sight… one that’s calm and more focused on only you.

That’s a senior pet.

Senior pets still have a lot of love to give.  They can and do bond very strongly with their humans.  Many seem to understand that they’ve been given another chance at a happy life… and they’re grateful for the opportunity to love someone and be loved back.

So if you’re considering a new addition to your family, why not give some thought to giving a deserving senior a second chance?  Instead of passing by the older pets, stop and spend some time with them- you might must end up finding a new best friend.

Wouldn’t it be nice to give a deserving senior a place to live out their golden years?

Benefits for the senior human:

Research has shown that companion animals can help improve physical and mental health.  By adopting a new furry friend, seniors can experience the benefits of decreased heart rate and blood pressure that so many people feel when they are relaxing with their pet.
Cats provide friendship for lonely individuals, offering an opportunity for care taking and interaction that an older person may miss if family is not nearby.
The company of a pet has been proven to reduce depression in the elderly, often delaying the onset of confusion and reducing the length of the average hospital stay.


  1. Older dogs have manners. Unlike puppies, many grown-up dogs have spent years living with a family and being socialized to life with humans.
    They may have received obedience training and respond to commands like Sit, Stay, and Down. 
    Many are house trained and it takes a matter of hours or a day or two to help them learn the potty rules in their new home.
  2. Senior pets are less destructive. Most older adoptive pets are well past the search-and-destroy phase. 
    You don't need to worry so much about finding your favorite pair of shoes or a table leg chewed beyond recognition. Chances are your senior kitty has no urge to overturn your potted plant or shred the handmade quilt your grandma gave you.
  3. What you see is what you get. A senior pet holds no surprises as to how big he might get, what color his adult coat will be, or whether his hips will be healthy. A senior pet comes to you with his own history, which makes his future much more predictable than that of an 8-week old puppy or kitten.
  4. You can teach an old dog new tricks. Adult dogs can focus on the task at hand (unlike many of their much younger counterparts). If your adopted older pet needs to learn a few things in her new life with you, not to worry. Enroll her in an obedience class, contact a trainer, or go the do-it-yourself route. Older dogs are more attentive than puppies, and more eager to please their humans.
  5. You can custom order your senior pet. If you're looking for a short-haired cat, for example, or a kitty with no history of dental disease, you can search until you find an older pet with exactly those attributes. If you already have a cat and need your adoptive dog to get along with cats, again, you'll have a much better chance of finding an older adoptive dog who is a perfect companion for your family.
  6. You can adopt a purebred pet if you want. If you really love a certain breed of dog or cat, chances are there's a breed rescue club that can point you in the direction of older purebred pets in need of homes.
  7. Senior pets are great company for senior citizens. Many elderly people find the calm presence of an older pet very comforting. They appreciate having a companion who is also 'getting up there' in age, doesn't mind hearing the same stories again and again, and is content to move through life at a slower speed.
  8. Older pets are relaxing to hang out with. Senior dogs and cats have all the basics down and aren't full of wild energy to burn. Because you're not constantly chasing around or cleaning up after your older pet, you have a lot more time to spend finding fun things to do or just relaxing together.
  9. Adopted senior pets are grateful for your kindness. Somehow, older pets seem to know you gave them a home when no one else would. Many new owners form a close bond very quickly with their senior dog or cat, because the pet shows them a level of attention and devotion that is unique to older adopted animals.
  10. You can be a hero to a deserving dog or cat. Almost without exception, people who adopt older animals feel a special sense of pride and purpose in opening their heart to a hard-to-place pet. Doing a good thing really does make you feel good!


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The Adoption Process: Questions to Ask Yourself

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The Adoption Process: Questions to Ask Yourself

Are you ready to add a pet to your family?

It can happen to the best of us. You see a cute, tiger-striped kitten with white paws and green eyes, just begging for attention. Or maybe it's a gorgeous Labrador mix whose tails seems to be wagging just for you. You take one look, and the next thing you know, you're walking down the pet food aisle at the supermarket.

If you're like most of us, falling in love with a pet is easy. And no wonder!

Sharing your home with a four-legged friend can be one of life's greatest joys. Dogs, cats, and other pets give us unconditional loyalty and acceptance, provide constant companionship, and even help relieve stress after a hard day's work.
But adopting a pet is a big decision. Dogs and cats require lots of time, money, and commitment—more than 15 years' worth in many cases. Pet ownership can be rewarding, but only if you think through your decision before you adopt a companion.

Ten things to consider

The fact that you're thinking of adopting from an animal shelter means you're on the right track; homeless pets in your community are counting on people like you to give them a chance. Here are some things to think about before you make a commitment:

  1. Why do you want a pet? It's surprising how many people don’t ask themselves this simple question before they get a pet. Adopting an animal because of a chance enounter at the shelter or because the kids have been pining for a puppy (without buy-in from mom and dad) often ends up being a big mistake. Don't forget that pets may be with you 10, 15, even 20 years.
  2. Do you have time for a pet? Dogs, cats, and other animal companions cannot be ignored just because you're tired or busy. They require food, water, exercise, care, and companionship every day of every year. Many animals in the shelter are there because their owners didn't realize how much time it took to care for them.
  3. Can you afford a pet? The costs of pet ownership can be quite high. Licenses, training classes, spaying and neutering, veterinary care, grooming, toys, food, kitty litter, and other expenses add up quickly.
  4. Are you prepared to deal with the challenges that a pet can present? Flea infestations, scratched furniture, accidents from animals who aren't yet housetrained, and unexpected medical emergencies are unfortunate but common aspects of pet ownership.
  5. Can you have a pet where you live? Many landlords don't allow pets, and most rental communities have restrictions. In addition, certain types of dogs (e.g. pit bulls, rottweilers, Doberman pinschers and other imposing breeds) are often excluded from homeowner insurance policies, or the owners aren’t allowed to renew or continue their coverage. Make sure you know if and how you are limited by housing-related policies before you bring a companion animal home.
  6. Is it a good time for you to adopt a pet? If you're a student, in the military, or travel frequently as part of your work, for example, waiting until you settle down is wise. If you have kids under five years old and you’re thinking about adopting a small mammal like a hamster or gerbil, you might consider postponing this decision since many small mammals present a risk of Salmonella.
  7. Are your living arrangements suitable for the animal you have in mind? Animal size is not the only variable to think about here. For example, some small dogs such as terriers are very active—they require a great deal of exercise to be calm, and they often bark at any noise. On the other hand, some big dogs are laid back and quite content to lie on a couch all day. Before adopting a pet, do your research—surf the Internet, talk to pet-owning friends and neighbors, and use shelter staff as a resource. That way, you'll be more likely to choose an animal who fits your lifestyle and living arrangements.
  8. Will you be a responsible pet owner? Having your pet spayed or neutered, obeying community leash and licensing laws, and keeping identification tags on your pets are all part of being a responsible owner. Of course, giving your pet love, companionship, exercise, a healthy diet, and regular veterinary care are also essential.
  9. Do you know who will care for your pet while you're away on vacation? You'll need either reliable friends and neighbors or money to pay for a boarding kennel or pet-sitting service.
  10. Are you prepared to keep and care for your pet for the long haul? When you adopt, you are making a long-term commitment to care for an animal. That said, good people sometimes find themselves in unfortunate circumstances that prevent them from holding onto their pets. If this should happen, be prepared to take a proactive role in finding a new home for your animal companion.


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Best of LI for the 5th Straight Year!

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Little Shelter's efforts in the community were once again recognized  by the Long Island Press this year when you, our supporters, went to the polls and voted for us!  We are very proud to announce that Little Shelter has won the titles 'Best Animal Shelter" and Best Animal Rescue" on Long Island for the 5th consecutive year!

Little Shelter's primary goal is to rescue and find homes for abandoned and homeless animals; we have been doing this for 87 years and counting!  Over the last 20 years Little Shelter has developed several innovative programs to benefit our community and beyond.  Little Shelter is a leader in the area of Humane Education for Children, as well as Animal Therapy  for Veterans suffering from post traumatic stress.  We run an Animal Soup Kitchen for members of our community who need assistance feeding and providing basic medical care for their pets.  These are only a few of the programs Little Shelter offers that distinguish us from other shelters. These programs, along with your support, are truly what make Little Shelter the Best of Long Island!  

Our fifth consecutive win indicates to Little Shelter Staff and Volunteers that you appreciate our efforts.   Readers of the Long Island Press recognize what an asset Little Shelter is to Long Island, and voters set out to let everyone know by voting us the WINNER!

 We would like to thank the readers of the Long Island Press and our wonderful supporters for voting us NUMBER ONE!

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What It Truly Means To Foster A Pet.

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What It Truly Means To Foster A Pet.

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Her name was Fergie, she had been at the shelter for almost two years. She was rescued from a local town shelter at only six months old. A family wanted to adopt her, but never came to pick her up, that was almost two years ago.

I had just started at Little Shelter, and it wasn’t an instant connection with Fergie, I don’t know how or when it happened, but soon I was spending every minute I could with her. Little Shelter was doing everything they could for her, featuring her in newspapers, printing big posters of her and bringing them to adoption events, but an extra push was needed.

I slowly started bringing Fergie home for sleepovers, I had two other dogs at home, and Fergie did not like other dogs. After a few times being separated at my home, I finally introduced them to one another, the moment was tense as both my dogs are considerably smaller than Fergie. Fergie slowly looked at my dogs then to me as if saying “I trust you.” Since that point Fergie has gotten along with countless dogs, not all, but many.

At that moment I decided it was time to foster Fergie, she would no longer have to sleep in a kennel every night. I don’t think she needed me as much anymore, but I needed her more than ever. Never did the thought cross my mind that I was doing her a favor, I simply loved her and she made me happy. I don’t know what it was but it seemed like the two of us were supposed to find one another. At home she was my shadow, following me wherever I went, and crying when she couldn’t see me.

It was the greatest two months of my life, Fergie excelled at everything placed before her. Then out of the blue two months later I received a call, a family wanted to meet Fergie. I was still fostering her, and couldn’t adopt her, I was hesitant and glad at the same moment. If it went well with this family I could lose her, but it also meant she would have a true home.

In the end it went great with the family. They had a feral dog that didn’t trust people but felt comfortable around other dogs, Fergie would be helping this other dog by simply being it’s friend.

I couldn’t bring myself to say goodbye to her, I simply gave her the biggest kiss on her nose. On my way home I cried, I couldn’t sleep that night due to not feeling her lay next to me on my bed. It was worse than any break up I had ever gone through, I still miss her to this day and pretty sure I always will.

I’ll never regret fostering her, the heartbreak may be immense but selfless. She saved me, and in turn that empty kennel space of hers at the shelter was now open for another dog to be rescued. People will ask why did you let her go if you cared for her that much? The truth is I cared about her more than anyone will ever know, her being adopted by another family may not have been what I wanted, but it is what she deserved. 

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