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Gracie, a 3-year-old shepherd/hound/pit bull mix, is one of the many "experienced" animals available for adoption at the Salem Animal Rescue League. As one of the shelter's "100 Club" dogs, Gracie's adoption fee will be cut in half during the month of February. (APRIL GUILMET PHOTO)

Salem shelter makes the case for adopting older animals

SALEM - Though he's no spring kitten, Looch the cat still has quite a few good years ahead of him, years he's hoping will be spent with a family to call his own.

A resident of the Salem Animal Rescue League since early December, the 12-year-old orange, shorthaired cat has certainly had a rough start in life. Abandoned on the streets to fend for himself, Looch was dangerously underweight and suffering from dental and thyroid ailments when he first arrived. But through it all, the handsome and friendly feline has managed to put his best paw forward, and shelter officials are hoping there's someone out there who will appreciate his many charms.

Throughout the month of February, the local animal shelter, located off Route 28, will host its first "Experience the Love" adoption event. During that time all cats aged 6 and older are being offered at the reduced adoption fee of $25 each, or two for $40. Animals of all ages who are on the "100 Club" list, meaning they've been at the shelter for 100 days or longer, will be available for half price throughout February.

The shelter currently has quite a few older cats up for adoption, as well as several long-term canine residents, according to shelter spokeswoman Patricia Mack. Though there are lots of empty cages at the shelter this month, the animals that remain in the shelter's care are the ones that often are overlooked by potential adopters, she said.

The shelter has apparently been successful with its education programs encouraging people to spay and neuter, since workers haven't had many kittens and puppies recently. As a result, the animals that are arriving at the shelter tend to be pets that ended up homeless due to their owners' unfortunate circumstances.

Mack can attest to the perks of adopting a more "experienced" pet.

The proud owner of Miss Missy, a three-legged, 16-year-old Chihuahua, Mack decided to permanently adopt the tiny foster pooch after shelter officials had spent two years trying to find her the perfect home.

"I'm here to tell you, the ones that often get overlooked can make the best pets," Mack said. "The rewards have been fantastic."

In mid-October, best buddies Nougart and Scooter arrived at the Salem shelter. The 8-year-old felines found themselves homeless when their elderly owner suffered from medical ailments and was no longer able to care for them. Finding the perfect home for a bonded pair of cats is never an easy fete, but finding homes for a pair of older cats has proven especially challenging. But Mack said the lucky person who adopts the devoted duo would no doubt be paid back in generous purrs.

"It's a sad situation as these two cats were very loved," she said, noting that eight isn't as old as it seems since indoor cats can live to the age of 18 or even older.

Sadie, a 6-year-old beagle, has been challenging to place due to a seizure disorder, which is controlled by affordable medication.

The chubby pooch with kind, hazel eyes was grossly obese when she arrived at the shelter after her owner had to go to a nursing home.

Now looking a bit more svelte after losing 18 pounds, Sadie is seeking a quiet home where her gentle, loving nature can shine through.

"Personality-wise, Sadie is absolutely fantastic," said Mack. "She loves to go for walks, she loves cats and she's never had an accident since she's been here."

The shelter is hosting a Meads & Sweets fundraiser on Saturday, March 2 at Moonlight Meadery at 23 Londonderry Road in Londonderry. The event, which will take place from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., will include tours of the meadery and samplings of beverages and desserts.

Tickets are $15 per person or $25 per couple.

For more information, visit

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