FL Rescue Group Refuses to Adopt to Senior Citizens

Life With Dogs is reader-supported. We may earn a small commission through products purchased using links on this page.

A Florida animal rescue group is refusing to adopt to senior citizens – and is making no bones about it.

81 year-old Ward Twining of Englewood, FL filled out an adoption application with Rescued Hearts, Inc., and was tentatively approved until he arrived to pick up a dog. Much to his surprise, a shelter representative looked at him and said, “We don’t give dogs to seniors.”

The incident has sparked a national debate on the topic, and you may be surprised to learn that a number of adoption groups have policies that prevent adoption to healthy, fit seniors who are able to provide competent, loving homes to adoptable animals.

In your opinion, is this a fair policy?

Life With Dogs post end paw print

56 thoughts on “FL Rescue Group Refuses to Adopt to Senior Citizens”

  1. NO! That is just sad and unjust. A concerned adoption agency could stipulate that the adopter either appoint a next of kin, so to speak, or agree that the animal be returned in the event of the older pet parent’s incapacitation.

  2. This is ridiculous considering that shelters struggle to find good homes for their rescue dogs. It is so hurtful to completely disregard senior citizens who want to provide a good home to a rescue dog and who probably need a furry companion as much as the dogs need a loving home.

    For me, this is a win-win situation for both the dog and the senior citizen. Sure, there may need to be a backup plan in the event that the senior has an unexpected health crisis in order to provide for the dog in the case of displacement but, that is no reason to unfairly discriminate against a whole group of people just because there is a “possibility” of some negative event occurring.

    I am angry at the thought of someone else deciding for me, that at some point in the future when I am an older person, I am no longer qualified according to their standards, to provide love and care for my favorite 4-legged furry companions. I love my dogs and life without them would be terrible and no one is going to take that away from me!

  3. Someone want to tell me why this guy couldn’t adopt a senior dog? No one wants senior dogs, only puppies. What happens when Mr. Senior goes into a nursing home in 4 or 5 years? I’ll tell you, the dog the family doesn’t want goes to the shelter. If Mr. Senior wanted a 8 year old dog, I bet that the Rescue would have no problem with that. But he probably didn’t want to have to take care of an aging dog. I say Senior for Seniors program is the way to go!!!!

    • I can tell you what happens (because it has happened to my relative), when a senior citizen only has the chance to adopt sickly, senior pets–the pets keep dying after a year or two, creating a situation where the senior human being is alone, bereft, traumatized and very possibly sent into a depression from which they may never recover. I get that animals are important–but aren’t people important too? What about all the research saying that it’s really good for elderly people to have pets? How can that not matter??!! Why shouldn’t a pet adoption be judged on all its merits and not just circular-filed simply because the applicant is elderly?

  4. I agree with Anne a more difficult to place senior dog would be a good match for a senior. I say this as a 67 year old. I had my last dog from a puppy until he was almost 15 years old. I too would love a dog again but I hesitate because of the possibility of leaving a dog without a home and an uncertain future.

    Also I wonder at the wisdom of a senior having small dogs underfoot. We seniors are prone to stumbling and having small dogs running around can be a hazard.
    A big gentle 7 year old lab would love a place in a senior’s home.

  5. The job of adoption groups is to first advocate for the dogs best interest. First, a young dog has far too much energy for the average senior to deal with, or to accommodate. Adopting a dog to someone who will most likely become infirm, or die, and be unable to care for it during the dog’s lifetime is not in the best interest of the dog. This is not to say seniors can’t adopt dogs. Individual circumstances, and finding a dog who is a good fit, is possible for many seniors, just as it is for most adopters. Senior citizens can make terrific foster parents, can serve as a hospice home for a terminally ill dog, and can be the ideal adopter for a senior dog, as long as they are able to meet the dogs needs.

    • Um, everyone dies, so I don’t see the logic in not adopting to seniors. I know 40 year olds that had pets and died. You need to provide for the animal after your passing or if you become incapacitated. I find these policies discriminatory, I wonder if the AARP is going to take it up.

  6. Does anyone know if this can be considered discrimination by a non profit business? I volunteer at a shelter and seniors make the best adopters. These dogs need a loving home now as the world is overflowing with adoptable dogs. Why keep a dog away from a senior and keep them in a kennel just because the senior may have future problems. This is a sad situation to hear about.

  7. Instead of assuming the family of a person will just give a dog to a shelter, in the event of no longer being able to care for it, why not have a more specific application for seniors. It would be perfectly logical to require a person to provide another party willing to take over care of the animal involved. It seems unfair to assume that a person who took the time to fill out an adoption application would be the same one to just ditch the animal later. I also agree that senior citizens should have the option of adopting senior dogs. But let’s not forget, every human has the potential to fall victim to health problems, car accidents, natural disasters, money problems, relocation, and the many other reasons that a person can fail to have the ability to care for a dog. I don’t believe all the beautiful canines in shelters now were out there by careless senior citizens.


Leave a Comment