Shelter workers raise awareness for senior pets

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — If you’re a pet owner, you know the happiness and companionship they bring to your life – and they can even be just what the doctor ordered.

According to the CDC, having a pet can decrease blood pressure and cholesterol levels and even increase the odds of surviving a heart attack.

It isn’t just your physical health that can benefit from having a pet, as they can also help someone emotionally by decreasing feelings of loneliness and isolation, especially for older people.

“It gives you a sense of purpose. It helps with the isolation a lot of seniors feel,” Dr. Gilberto Heredia, of Optum NM, said. “They are isolated and have difficulty accessing transportation so it helps with isolation and helps with depression.”

Senior pets can often work best for older people looking to adopt an animal. November is National Adopt a Senior Pet Month and shelter workers are raising awareness for them as they often don’t get the same shelter as younger animals, even though they still deserve a home too.

“You’re giving them the best few last years of their life,” said Sara Heffern, the executive director of Watermelon Mountain Ranch. “It’s giving them that sunny spot, that soft bed, so they don’t have to spend it in a shelter and don’t have to worry about those kinds of things.”

Many senior pets already have a history – often, some come from homes and were surrendered to a shelter after their owner passed away. They may not run, walk or even eat like they used to, shelter workers still say they make a great companion.

If you’re looking to adopt a pet and loved one of the furry friends in our story, you can inquire about adopting them at the Watermelon Mountain Ranch website.