When you decide to bring a new pet into your home, it can be tempting to pick up a puppy or kitten. They're all cuteness and goofiness and you know that hopefully they'll be with you for a healthy, long life. But there's a special place in animal lover's heaven — or at least boatloads of good karma — for people who adopt older pets. They don't know the animal's history and know their time with them is limited, but they open their hearts and homes just the same.
Here's a look at some of these sweet senior adoptions that will make your heart melt.
Reddit user ShawshankRedemption got the sweet rescue dog above, who apparently really knows how to nap. "The pound had guessed her at 14 when they picked her off the street and the vet doesn't bother to guess. Medical costs have been ok, it was just a lot at first since she was sick and malnourished from being neglected," he writes. "I have to say it's all been worth it."
Polly was given up to a shelter by her owner, who offered to pay to have her euthanized. (Photo: rocknroll_heart/Reddit)
Reddit user rocknroll_heart adopted Polly, a special needs senior dog that was about to be euthanized. She's deaf and had to have dental surgery because of major issues with her teeth.
"I'll be honest — I was a little worried about adopting a senior dog because I knew I'd be devastated if I only had a limited time with her," she writes. " However, I've made it my mission to make sure her limited time here would be the best time a dog could ever have because she hasn't had the best of care up until now. Now I'd like to only adopt senior dogs because I see how happy she is now, and I'm sure there are many out there who need that level of care as well."
Steve Greig hangs out with his dogs, while posing for the RescueMen charity calendar. (Photo: wolfgang2242/Instagram)
Steve Greig's house in Colorado is kind of a sanctuary for mostly senior dogs and the occasional pig and rabbit. He's been featured on a RescueMen charity calendar and is constantly opening his home to older pets in need of a place to stay.
"I get asked a lot about how I managed to cope with the inevitable heartbreak that comes with senior dog adoption. I think that the heartbreak is offset by the increased appreciation I have for life specifically because I have a house full of seniors," Greig writes on his popular Instagram account.
"When you are young or when your pets are young its easy to take them (and everything else) for granted. The end is so far away that you don't even think about it and it's easy to overlook the intricate beauty of the daily dance ... Having senior pets helps to change that pattern and slow everything down. I watch them so closely. I help them with things that younger pets can do for themselves and so I get to celebrate the ordinary; days when everyone eats all their food, the nights we are able to go for a walk, the times they don't need any medicine, or the times when the medicine they do need cures them. Those little things make me stop and feel that everything is right in the world at that moment. It makes me look around and take stock of all the love in my life, and smile about the love that has been there before."
Pepper's new owner doesn't know how he lost his left ear. (Photo: CallMeAl_/Reddit)
Senior cat Pepper was given up for adoption when his owner moved to a place that doesn't allow cats. Reddit user CallMeAl_ says the kitty was obviously well loved and well cared for. She believes his owner was elderly and had to move to a senior facility.
"That broke my heart imagining someone crying while dropping off this sweet sweet cat," she writes.
Rocky lounges after a walk. (Photo: trebleKat/Reddit)
Reddit users termisique and trebleKat adopted Rocky, an 11-year-old German shepherd and harrier hound mix dog that no one else would rescue. Their cat is still adjusting to the new roommate, but Rocky is certainly getting comfortable in his new home.
"He is missing most of his teeth and has hip dysplasia, but is sweet and well trained. Our plan is to spoil him and keep him happy for the rest of his days."
Molly says Otitis is very empathetic and can tell when she's having a bad day. (Photo: Adventures of Otitis/Facebook)
When Molly Lichtenwalner met Otitis, the senior white cat had been surrendered by his family who couldn't afford to pay for the surgery to have his ears removed. Now earless, he's no longer suffering from painful cysts, but he certainly has an unusual appearance.
"When I came across Otitis, I knew he was the perfect cat for me," Lichtenwalner told the Dodo. "He was an older, special needs cat that I knew needed the home and love that I absolutely knew I could give him. I found out later that many people asked about him, but no one ever put in an application for him — I was the first."
Lichtenwalner is writing a children's book based on Otitis about discovering how your disability can make you special. You can follow the kitty's exploits on Facebook and Instagram.
Reddit user sicwriter adopted this sweet older corgi/collie mix. (Photo: sicwriter/imgur)
Reddit user sicwriter posted adorable images of this older corgi/collie mix, who he adopted. "Rescued my new best friend a month ago — a reminder that older dogs need homes too!"
Can you tell where Midnight ends and the blanket begins? (Photo: Kaalb/Reddit)
Midnight has feline herpes and extra toes, but her illness and polydactyl tendencies didn't stop Reddit user Kaalb from adopting the beautiful senior kitty.
"She's a cuddle bug and adorable!" she writes.
Shadow 'chose' his new owners by staring at them when they went to the animal shelter. (Photo: TeflonDonatello/Reddit)
Shadow was the only dog not barking when Reddit user TeflonDonatello and his family went to adopt a pet at the animal shelter. He said the dog "chose" them by staring and wagging his tail.
"I was looking for an older, low energy dog," he writes. "It's sad people won't give a dog a chance because they're worried about not having as much time with them before they pass on. I think it's more important to make the time they have left the best time."
Mary Jo DiLonardo writes about everything from health to parenting — and anything that helps explain why her dog does what he does.