Adopting Senior Animals = A Lifetime of Love: PETA’s Rescue Stories

After an experience like 2020, we all deserve to see out the year with some good news. Don’t worry—PETA’s got ya covered. November is “Adopt a Senior Pet” month, and even though the month is nearly over, we’ve collected some uplifting PETA adoption stories to keep you beaming into the new year. Who knows—these stories may inspire you to offer a permanent home to a loving senior animal, which saves one life, and brightens other lives, all year round.

Let’s double the joy by sharing the tails of two special girls: Mingo and Missy.


Gentle Mingo spent seven years confined to a 6-foot-by-10-foot chain-link pen, without regular companionship or friendship. She was deprived of regular exercise, despite being full of energy—instead, she slumped listlessly in her cage, dug herself a hole to avoid the hot sun, and battled through cold winters. PETA’s fieldworkers helped as much as they could, by topping up her dry water bowl and providing her with toys, treats, and straw bedding—this, at least, gave her a break from sitting on dirty, muddy soil.

Mingo’s health declined in these miserable conditions, until the PETA fieldworker who regularly visited Mingo finally persuaded her owner to release her from the wire prison—and adopted her as a member of his own family! Now, Mingo has a new lease on life in her forever home, which she shares with dog siblings. She loves walks and her abundant yard, where she sniffs fresh grass like it’s a miracle.

Mingo finally gets to play as much as she wants. She loves to wrestle with her brother and then catch some z’s on the family couch, tucked into a warm blanket. In fact, she often “collects” blankets and towels from her guardians for a makeshift bed—and who’s going to stop her? This resilient girl—who endured so many years pacing on packed dirt and icy snow—deserves to have her twilight years filled with softness.

Smiley-faced Missy experienced little joy in her first decade of existence. Like Mingo, she spent all her time in a dirty outdoor pen, which was dwarfed by piles of dumped trash that kept her view of the outside limited. Her patch of dirt had its grass worn away, and Missy was battered by the elements. PETA’s fieldworkers—who visited Missy to provide basic care, bedding, and supplies—pleaded with Missy’s owner to provide this vulnerable dog with an indoor home, but these pleas were ignored. Despite living so long in isolation, Missy maintained a warm and approachable spirit: She would flop onto her back and excitedly present her stomach to fieldworkers for a scratch, even as her health issues mounted. Eventually, Missy developed severe heartworm disease, and her owner gave her to PETA for medical care.

Once a sucker for stomach scratches, always a sucker for stomach scratches! Now that she is in her new, comfortable home, Missy demands a stomach scratch from her guardian at least once an hour. She also loves cuddles and playing fetch, and she adapted quickly to the idea of a regular bath—something she had not received in 10 years. Missy spent the first part of her life with just one discarded Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle toy for company. Now, her day is filled with entertainment, play, and affection—exactly what she deserves.

Have these heartwarming stories inspired you to adopt a senior animal companion? There are clear benefits to bringing a worldly buddy into your life:

  • You know exactly who you are bringing home. A senior animal has reached full size and has developed their personality by the time we meet them. We also know more about their energy levels and their grooming needs.
  • They’re an old soul, and an old hand at life. Senior animals know all the important skills that we have to teach puppies and kittens. Older dogs know how to walk on a leash, and older cats know that they should use a scratching post to sharpen their nails—not your couch!
  • Bless this mess—but not that one! Most adult animals are already housetrained and have lost the childhood urge to chew on shoes or human possessions.
  • Maturity means manners. We’ve all seen a puppy or kitten interacting with older dogs and cats—they sure know how to test some boundaries! Senior animals learn and respect the lay of the land quickly, meaning they fit into their new family without drama.
  • Lifesaving love. Many guardians of senior animals believe that their animals are especially appreciative of receiving a second chance at life. As a result, they’re firmly loyal and loving to their new family.

If you ask us, we should appreciate senior animals every month—not just in November! If Mingo and Missy’s stories have inspired you to open your heart and home to a rescued animal—and if you have love, care, and commitment to offer—it might be time to adopt a senior animal. Visit your local animal shelter to meet some senior sweethearts, and offer a senior dog or cat a second shot at love.


If you want to help further, please consider supporting PETA’s lifesaving work for animals by donating to the winter doghouse campaign. It can be a long negotiation process to get dogs like Mingo and Missy out of the cold—so these doghouses help neglected dogs survive an icy winter while PETA continues pushing for their release.