Pet World: Age shouldn't prevent senior from adopting older pet
Sunday, February 7, 2021

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,

We took in a 10-year-old neutered male chihuahua/miniature pinscher three months ago. He is on enalapril for heart murmur and gabapentin for back pain. The dog is generally trained but he has urinated on furniture several times and twice on the sofa where he likes to sleep. He was recently at the vet who said he has normal kidney function and no diabetes. Can you please help us figure out the problem and what to do about it?

--Rondi, Blue Bell, PA

Dear Rondi,

If your dog has a clean bill of health and the medications that he is taking are not causing him to urinate more frequently, than he needs to be re-housetrained. Housetraining should be done for every dog entering a new home, regardless of age. Pets are stressed when they join a new family and training provides a routine that helps them settle in.

Begin as if you are training a puppy. Take him outside every time he wakes up, after he eats and after he plays. This may involve taking him out more frequently, but hopefully he will learn what you expect from him. It's important to reward him when he does go outside. Watch him and when he relieves himself outside, use a reward word, like "Bingo" and then give him a treat. Do this consistently for two months

Next, get an enzymatic cleaner to clean up the urine and fecal matter in the home. Enzymatic cleaners eat up the biological remains of your dog's waste removing the ammonia odor that frequently draws a dog back to the same spot over and over again.

If after two months, you don't see improvement, use puppy pads inside the house, which are designed to attract your dog to it and discourage accidents elsewhere in the home. But only do this as a last resort. Start with the training first. I know this can be a hassle with winter upon us, but it is the best way to change the behavior.

Cathy M. Rosenthal is a longtime animal advocate, author, columnist and pet expert who has more than 25 years in the animal welfare field. Send your pet questions, stories and tips to  Please include your name, city, and state. You can follow her @cathymrosenthal.


Would you like to e-mail us?  Have a press release or story idea?  Questions about obituaries?  Send us your questions and comments to:



Click here for regular advertising rates!!!

 Check out TNCP's Birthday Advertising!!!!

Custom-embroidered logo shirts and apparel by Queensboro

Support our advertisers. Follow the link to their site:

Greater Lansing Convention & Visitors Bureau