adoption

5 reasons senior dogs and cats are extra special

Anyone who’s loved a cat or dog into his or her golden years understands the powerful bond shared following years of weathering life’s ups and downs together. And though our senior animals eventually succumb to health problems—a road not easily traveled— physical hardships don’t alter the size of their heart or their capacity to love.

But you may be surprised by the age at which your best furry friend is considered a senior. Different breeds age at different rates: Irish Wolfhounds (so adorable!) enter their sunset years at the mere age of 4.5; other breeds, like Dachshunds, don’t dip a paw into the next chapter until 11. (You can check your dog’s breed here.) Cats become seniors anywhere between 7 and 10 years of age. Keeping up on well checks helps you stay informed.

No matter the breed, our senior animals are easy to cherish! Here are five reasons why I think they are awesome members of the family …

How to know if you should adopt another cat

What is your perfect number of cats? As a child growing up, I never had less than two, but sometimes we had up to four (a real clowder—that is your new word for the day 😉 ). Of course, my parents realized early on that having three daughters meant three was the absolute minimum. That way, we each had one to call our own: Cassy (mine); Cassy’s daughter, Pinky (born in our garage in the days before we knew about spay/neuter and kept by my sister Charlotte); and Tux, a cute stray we rescued from being tormented by neighborhood boys whom Maureen persuaded my parents to keep. These special kitties all lived until our college days.

Today I don’t have a cat (we have allergies in the family), but both of my sisters have one. And they sometimes think about adopting another one, but it can be hard to know the right time, don’t you think? Life feels perfect as is, but sometimes it can feel as if something is “missing.”

It’s a big decision a lot of us think about—especially when we encounter a really cute one as a stray, at a local shelter or while “just browsing” Petfinder.com (everyone does this, right?).

But when is a good time to introduce a brand-new feline into your household? Here are some signs you’re finally ready to bring another cat into the fold …

How to celebrate National Greyhound Adoption Month

Greyhounds make such wonderful animal companions: They’re often referred to as “couch potatoes” due to their laid-back style, and these nonaggressive, gentle animals require minimal grooming. So what better time to consider bringing a greyhound into your home than in April, National Greyhound Adoption Month?

But even if you’re not ready to add one to your family, there are still plenty of ways you can celebrate and support greyhounds this month. You can …

Why rescued canines make the best service dogs

Dogs from shelters aren’t usually the first choice when it comes to organizations looking to train service dogs. But I hope one day that can change: Nearly 4 million dogs are euthanized in shelters every year, and many of those are breeds best known for making wonderful service animals—golden retrievers, labs, German shepherds and the like. (But did you know pit bulls and “mutts” make great service dogs, too?) Here’s another factor worth mentioning: Dogs rescued from shelters know what it means firsthand to be abused and neglected, easing that connection with people in need who have found themselves in similar life circumstances.

As animal lovers know, companion animals often surprise us; they melt hearts, break barriers and make miracles. And as you’ll see, the following dogs do just that. Read on to see how these seven smart canines went from shelter dog to service dog—and now dedicate their lives to making this world a better place …

Help animals with these 10 inspiring new year’s resolutions

It’s a new year—which means an opportunity for new beginnings. You may have put a lot of thought into your own personal resolutions this year, like exercise more or eat less chocolate (that is definitely not one of mine!). But there are also so many ways we can all make small changes to help the world’s animals. Looking for some ideas? Here are 10 smart resolutions sure to help the animals of this world throughout 2016 …

8 incredibly useful apps for animal lovers

I don’t go anywhere without my smartphone. Life’s a juggling act, whether I’m taking calls, working or even snapping pics of my dog Mystic. How awesome that I can also use my mobile to keep Mystic on point in her training, get animal first aid tips and find dog-friendly hiking trails in Marin? I can do all this, and more, with apps—and here are eight of the best for animal lovers …

How to help military dogs

We see so much in the news about our brave men and women in uniform who are deployed overseas. But what about the animals by their side, either at home or abroad? The following nonprofit organizations are doing amazing work to support our servicemen and women, veterans and even active duty dogs:

Mission K9 Rescue: This wonderful organization is dedicated to ensuring military and active duty dogs find a loving home and lifelong care following their retirement. It also funds missions to bring combat working dogs home from Afghanistan and other war-torn countries and reunite them with their handler for a special adoption. It costs around $3,000 to bring a military dog home …