Home & Leisure

Pet World: Age shouldn’t prevent senior from adopting older pet

Cathy M. Rosenthal, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Cathy,

I need your help. I am over 70 years old and I recently lost my dog of over 10 years. He was adopted along with the cat I had who also recently passed after 18 years with me. I have been looking to adopt now since the beginning of 2020. I located a rescue group and after a home check was approved to adopt. At this point in my life, I do not want a puppy. I would like an older dog, something small to keep me and my husband company. A dog would also encourage us to walk more.

After finding a smaller, older dog that I thought would work for us and reaching out to the rescue, we were denied because of my age. I was shocked as it wasn’t something brought up before. I am quite capable of taking care of a dog and have plenty of experience raising both dogs and cats.

My heart breaks at the thought of never being allowed to adopt again because a rescue group has deemed me too old to do so. Any help would be greatly appreciated. I honestly miss the company and I would always rather adopt then purchase a pet.

–Louisa, Mineola, New York

Dear Louisa,


Rescue groups are great and serve a wonderful role in ensuring harder to place dogs and cats find homes. They tend to be a little stricter about adoption protocols than an animal shelter because they are often dealing with a pet that has already been rehomed several times.

But some rescue groups – and clearly this one – impose such severe adoption restrictions that they actually make it hard for well-intentioned people to adopt. It’s short-sighted and disgraceful to have a blanket rule about an adopter’s age, and not consider that you could live another 10 or 20 years. Frankly, I can think of no better place for an older dog than in the home of a senior who is retired and has lots of love and affection to give.

Call the rescue group’s executive director to see why your home was approved, but then you were denied because of your age. If you can’t resolve the issue with the current rescue group, please consider adopting from another rescue group or animal shelter that actually wants to find homeless animals good homes. This one is clearly not thinking straight, and you are right to label it discrimination.

Dear Cathy,


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