Since I began working at the Ottawa Humane Society a lot of people approach me for advice — especially about the kind of pet to adopt. It's interesting, because very few of them actually heed the few pieces of advice I give.
There are two things I recommend to almost anyone who asks. First, be patient and take the time to work with OHS staff to find the right pet for you. And second, adopt an older pet.
Many say they will follow the first piece, but quickly fall in love with pet that is cute, looks like a much-loved previous pet, or that they just feel an immediate bond with.
I tend to give a lot of reasons why an older pet is often a better choice. I tell people that our staff can give more information about the temperament, behaviour and little foibles of an older pet. Kittens and puppies often act very differently than their adult selves.
While most of us like a playful pet, older animals can provide welcome calm and quiet between playtimes. I know more than a few people still waiting hopefully for their retriever to reach a calmer phase of life; others are praying their cat will soon age out of climbing the curtains. Five years ago, I thought it would be fun to foster some puppies. Only two. And I still get tired when I think of it.
Take my advice. Older pets still need a home. They need love. They need you. Please give it some thought before you adopt. One of them may be what you need.