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by Abigail Van Buren

When It Comes to Adopting a Pet, Old Is Often Best

DEAR ABBY: We are seniors like "Thinking About Adopting in Las Vegas" (Feb. 2), who wants to adopt a dog. He may find it difficult to adopt one, especially since big hearts and lots of love and patience many times aren't considered "enough" today. We were denied every dog we wanted to adopt until a volunteer at advised us that considering our ages, we should adopt a senior dog. We took their advice and have been blessed with 9-year-old Benji for almost a year.

Puppies are like grandchildren -- full of love, but they can leave us seniors exhausted. Senior dogs nap, are more mellow than puppies and are usually housebroken. If that man outlives his dog, he'll know he gave his precious little one a good home and lots of love. If Petfinder is in his area, they will make sure your little one is adopted into the perfect home -- not just "any" home. -- BENJI'S PARENTS IN WASHINGTON STATE

DEAR BENJI'S PARENTS: Thank you for supporting the adoption of older dogs. Readers provided some doggone good resources for adopting -- or acting as a foster parent -- for an abandoned or abused dog. Read on:

DEAR ABBY: In most states people can now create a trust for their pet. They can put funds into it and, in this way, benefit their pet by naming a trustee and caretaker to assure it will be taken care of until it passes away. In the trust they can state all their wishes, as singer Dusty Springfield did in stating she wanted her dog fed only imported baby food, its bed lined with her nightgowns and her records played when it went to sleep. -- MARC S. IN CLEVELAND

DEAR ABBY: Most Humane Societies now offer a "senior for senior" discount where a qualified senior citizen can adopt a senior companion animal, usually 7 years old or older, with all the fees waived. Please tell "Thinking" that he can find what he's looking for in companionship, and a middle-aged or older dog that would usually be passed up at the pound will get a new leash on life. -- TANNA, DIAMOND BAR, CALIF.

DEAR ABBY: Many dog rescues need kind, loving foster homes for abused and abandoned animals who are awaiting adoption. It is hard to give up a dog after you have fostered and taken care of it for a while, and you do have the option of adopting it yourself, but believe me, this is definitely a worthwhile cause. When you take in a foster, their eyes are dull. But after receiving love and attention from a caregiver, those eyes sparkle and you know you have done something wonderful. -- JILLIE IN HUMBLE, TEXAS

DEAR ABBY: After practicing as a vet for 35 years, may I offer a suggestion to your readers? Wonderful older pets are put to sleep every day at shelters across the country. These pets are usually housetrained, leash-trained, calm and eager for love and attention. Puppies (and kittens), on the other hand, need constant attention, training and activity.

Visit a pet shelter, and you may find your "perfect" companion patiently waiting for your love. -- KEN COHN, TUCSON, ARIZ.

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