Mature pets await loving homes in the wake of California wildfires

By Christina Campodonico

Nine-year-old male Baloo is among a large number of pit bulls nationwide in need
of a home; Queenie, an 8-year-old female, also needs a permanent pet parent

When adopting a pet, bringing home an older new best friend may not be the first thing that crosses people’s minds. But the Wallis Annenberg PetSpace in Playa Vista wants to help change that mindset with its Senior Pet Adoption Fair on Saturday.

In partnership with Los Angeles County shelters, PetSpace will showcase senior animals up for adoption from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. while hosting a bevy of family-friendly activities such as a Paws & Pages story time with “Gray Whiskers” author Lisa Wiehebrink, a chance to discover pet products specifically for older animals, face painting for kids, and facetime with pet experts about adopting a senior cat or dog (an animal that’s at least seven years old).

“There are a lot of benefits to having a senior pet in your life,” says Yasmin Alpay, Education Program Manager for the Wallis Annenberg PetSpace. “We all know that puppies are absolutely adorable, but at the same time it’s like having a baby at home. There’s potty-training involved. They don’t know how to walk politely on a leash yet. … A senior pet, their personalities are already established. They’re fully-grown. They’re much more likely to have some kind of training. They know how to sit and stay. They’re more likely to be house-trained. And there’s less of a risk that you’ll lose your favorite shoes.”

Alpay also notes that a senior pet can be an especially valuable companion to an older adult or couple, or those looking for a more low-key animal companion.

“A senior pet is looking for a more peaceful environment — a companion they can cuddle with and a slower pace of life,” she says. “They’re just as happy to be out on a walk or to curl up on your lap.”

This Saturday may also be an especially good time to bring an older animal into your home for an even bigger cause, observes Alpay. Not only is November Adopt a Senior Pet Month and the season of Thanksgiving, but in the wake of the Woolsey Fire, animal shelters across the Southland have seen a surge of animals that, like their human counterparts, have lost their homes.

In response, PetSpace has donated supplies and brought in additional adoptable pets from nearby shelters so that those facilities can accept more animals impacted by California’s wildfires. PetSpace has also waived adoption fees until the situation calms down.

“This is our way of alleviating that influx,” says Alpay, “and helping our neighbors and our friends in need.”

The Senior Pet Adoption Fair happens from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday (Nov. 24) at the Wallis Annenberg PetSpace, 12005 Bluff Creek Dr., Playa Vista. Free. Visit annenbergpetspace.org form more information.

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