Arizona Humane Society launches pet adoption discount for seniors

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The Arizona Humane Society (AHS) is launching a 20% adoption discount for seniors who are 65 years and older.

This discount applies to all adoptable pets, including puppies and kittens. Having a pet can help the elderly get out of the house, exercise, meet new people and reduce stress. For senior pet owners, who often live alone or in group facilities, pets can help lower blood pressure, increase social interaction, physical activity and help them learn.

Taylor Michael, the adoptions supervisor for the Arizona Humane Society, joined us to explain more about the discount and benefits for senior citizens. She also brought along a tiny, adoptable kitten named Jackie, who was happy to spend some time with Ted!

Michael said animals can have a very positive impact on our lives, especially as we age. The companionship, routine and unconditional love pets provide can significantly improve the overall health and happiness of older individuals.

“There are many health benefits such as lower blood pressure, improve heart health, it also helps with loneliness, reducing anxiety and helps people be more active and social,” Michael said.

Here are a few ways a furry friend can help seniors.

Exercise

Anyone can benefit from regular exercise, regardless of age. But we all know it can be tough to get into a regular exercise routine. Having a dog can be a great way to make walking a regular part of your daily exercise plans. Pets also encourage physical activity through activities like playing and even light grooming.

Social interaction

Pets can help seniors connect with others in their community, as an animal is a natural conversation starter. Walking a dog, visiting a pet park or even engaging in pet-related activities like training classes can result in social interactions and friendships. This increased social engagement contributes to a sense of belonging and a stronger support network, which is important for older adults.

Reduced stress

The presence of a pet can have a remarkable impact on your emotional well-being. The act of petting a dog or cat triggers the release of oxytocin. This promotes feelings of happiness and reduces stress levels. Moreover, caring for a pet provides a sense of purpose and fulfillment, fostering a positive emotional state.

Mental stimulation

Interacting with a pet stimulates mental faculties and provides opportunities for problem-solving and learning. Activities like training, playing games and simply engaging with a pet’s needs can help maintain cognitive function in older people. Studies have shown pet owners often exhibit lower levels of stress and better cognitive performance.

Establishing a routine and building structure

When you have a pet, you need to establish a routine for feeding, exercise and care. This sense of structure can provide a sense of purpose for seniors and help them maintain a daily schedule. It gives them something to look forward to and a reason to get up and be active each day. The responsibility of caring for a pet can also help alleviate feelings of isolation. Knowing there is a living being depending on you for care and companionship can help fight off feelings of emptiness and depression.

More information

If you or a senior-aged loved one is considering adopting a pet, it’s important to carefully consider factors like the type of pet, its needs and the available living space. Adopting from local shelters can be a wonderful way to give a loving home to an animal in need.

AHS is currently on pace to care for more than 20,000 sick, injured and abused pets this year alone, the highest number of intakes the shelter has seen in more than a decade.

For more information or to see adoptable pets online, visit azhumane.org.

Taylor Michael, Arizona Humane Society Adoptions Supervisor

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