Denver Animal Shelter: Old Dogs Need Homes Too (Video)

DENVER, CO — Patches doesn’t know he’s an older dog, and why should he? The 9-year-old mutt can still run around, play fetch and wag his tail with a young dog’s fervor. He adores his stuffed animals, which is unsurprising, as sometimes they’re his only company while he sits at the Denver Animal Shelter waiting for his forever home.

Unlike the shelter’s many bouncing puppies that get adopted immediately, Patches is mellow, quiet and wise. Instead of ruffing and yipping, he watches passersby peacefully with his kind old twinkling eyes.

The mixed-breed dog is by no means a show breed, but if personality alone could win dog shows, Patches would have countless trophies to his name.

Erica Carder, a Community Engagement Specialist for the Denver Animal Shelter, said people often don’t realize all the benefits of adopting an older dog like Patches.

“He’s not going to chew your things, he’s not going to need a five-mile run after work when you get home and you’re exhausted,” Carder said. “He’s just going to be there and be ready to hang out. He loves to go on short walks and doesn’t need a ton of exercise. He’s just one of those dogs that loves people.”

Many people don’t realize how much work a puppy can be, Carder said.

“I used to always think I wanted puppies and now that I’m at this place in my life, there’s just nothing better than coming home and knowing my dogs are happy that I’m home and we can all hang out for the evening,” she said. “I don’t have to worry that my couch is going to be eaten.”

One way that people can help local animals is by following the Denver Animal Shelter on social media, Carder said. One of the shelter’s top goals is to return animals to their owners, so platforms like Facebook can help get the word out about a missing or found pet.

“We want owners to come in to claim and redeem their pets. That’s what we hope for, especially if we get stray animals,” she said. “So about a third of animals here go that direction, and another third go up for adoption. We typically have about 3,000 animals adopted per year.”

Many pet owners are no longer able to care for their animals due to sickness, financial problems, moving or other issues. Carder said the Denver Animal Shelter never judges someone for not being able to take care of their pet.

“I think people get scared of us — I think people get nervous to come here or to bring their animals here,” she said. “We try to provide a judgement-free experience for people. So if you’re no longer able to care for your animals, that’s ok. We want to help.”

The shelter offers programs for pet owners who are experiencing homelessness, domestic violence and other major life barriers.

The shelter also has local alliances and partnerships that help animals, Carder said.

“If we have a dog that may, say, bite over food, The Humane Society of Boulder Valley has a great behavior modification program,” Carder said. “We have a lot of partners in the community that are able to work on some of the behavior issues that we can’t, and then we put those animals up for adoption.”

If you’re interested in adopting Patches or another dog, check out Denver Animal Shelter’s adoptable pets. You can also become a foster volunteer.

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