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Seniors Need Second Chances Too

Dear Pet Column,

I recently met Old Man Sam and Bonsai, your two most senior cats at the Second Chance Shelter. Although 18 year old Bonsai was preoccupied with deep contemplation at the window his mellow energy calmed me and Old Man was so loving, affectionate and chatty I can’t believe he is 17 years young. They are quite the pair and really opened my heart yet I am concerned about their advanced age and think it would be better for me to adopt younger cats...

Sincerely, Bonkers for Bonsai & Sam

Dear Bonkers, my staff thought it best if I, Old Man Sam, wrote back to you directly. Although I am eighteen years of age I still have plenty left to give. It should be the connection that counts not the age.

Adopting a pet is certainly a lifetime commitment and the age of a pet you adopt should be reflective of your lifestyle. From this point of reference, there are advantages to adopting a pet of more mature years, for example, we are so less needy than our younger counterparts. We have let go of many of our bad habits and demands. We teach others an acceptance of life that is comparable to the Zen Masters teachings, just being. 

Adopters I have briefly met here at Second Chance who have had their hearts opened by my unabashed willingness to connect with them have all ended up leaving with one of the younger cats. I do fully comprehend their fear of the potentially shorter time we would have together and that people naturally would rather avoid or prolong the grief of saying goodbye.

I also know that we make the most of what we have. Longevity for healthy cats varies from up to 20+ years. So yes, adopting an older pet has certain risks to it, but there are no guarantees of longevity for any pet you adopt. The important thing is that the time we have together will be richly rewarded by love, connection, and companionship.

Health factors add to the risk of adopting seniors and I am not going to lie, Bonsai and I have some added challenges. Bonsai has kidney disease and I have hyperthyroidism which requires medication daily and keeps me very skinny. Bonsai needs to be subcutaneously hydrated daily. But we want to live and our staff here believe we deserve a second chance. So do we.

I am not attempting to persuade anyone who is not the right person or family to bring me home, but I am asking you to consider whether you might be the right person. If you have a warm and comfortable home where Bonsai and/or I (we have only known each other a few months so we can be adopted separately but we have become buddies…) could add some Zen, cheer and more love, I suggest you come meet us. 

Although the staff and volunteers here treat us like family, we want our final phase of life to be in a true home with forever family, even if that forever isn’t super long. So if not you, we hope that someone else reading this will realize that giving us this chance is just what they need in their life right now. Hearts always have room for more love.

Second Chance Humane Society’s Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shops have been servicing San Miguel, Ouray & Montrose Counties for 27 years. Call 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about our Emergency Response, Community Medical, Spay/Neuter, Volunteer, or other services. View our shelter pets and services online:

Second Chance Humane Society Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shops service San Miguel, Ouray and Montrose counties. Call the SCHS Helpline at 970-626-2273 to report a lost pet or to learn about adopting a homeless pet and the SCHS spay/neuter, volunteer, feral cat or other programs. View our shelter pets and services at

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