PAWS Program

Partnering Animals with Seniors

Enriching Golden Years

Finding loving homes for our senior animals can be challenging. In an effort to improve their chance at finding a forever home — and to provide an opportunity for our senior community members to experience the gift of unconditional love in their golden years — HSHC offers discounted adoption fees to humans age 55+ on all PAWS eligible animals (i.e., dogs and cats older than five years).

The discounted fee is $10-$45 (depending on the pet), and animals eligible for the PAWS program are identified with a PAWS tag on their kennel or cage.

Program at a Glance

What It Is

A program that provides discounted adoption fees to senior humans (55yrs+) for senior animals who need forever homes for their golden years.

Who It Helps

Senior pets that are typically harder to place in forever homes, and senior citizens who benefit both emotionally and physically from the companionship of a pet.

Why It Matters

These senior pairs improve the quality of life for the pet and the person tremendously.

How to Help

If you’re 55yrs or older please consider adoption a PAWS eligible pet.

Why Open Your Heart to a Senior Pet

Older dogs have manners.

Unlike puppies, many grown-up dogs spent years living with a family and being socialized with humans. They may have received obedience training and respond to commands such as sit, stay, and down. Many are house-trained and find it easy to adapt to the potty rules in their new home.

Senior pets are less destructive.

Most older adoptees are well past the search-and-destroy phase of their lives. You won’t need to worry so much about finding your favorite pair of shoes or a table leg chewed beyond recognition. Chances are your senior kitty has outgrown the urge to overturn your potted plant or shred the handmade quilt from your grandma.

What you see is what you get.

A senior pet holds no surprises when it comes to size, coat color, or hip health. A senior comes to you with his own history, which makes his future much more predictable than that of an 8-week-old puppy or kitten.

You can teach an old dog new tricks.

Adult dogs can focus on the task at hand — unlike many of their younger counterparts. If your adopted senior pet needs to learn a few things in his new life with you, don’t worry. Enroll him in an obedience class, contact a trainer, or teach him yourself. He’ll be eager to please his new human.

You can custom order your new companion.

If you’re looking for a short-haired cat, for example, or for a kitty with no history of dental disease, you can search until you find a pet with those exact attributes. If you already have a cat and need your adoptive dog to get along with cats, you have a much better chance of finding that perfect companion.

You can adopt a purebred.

If you really love a certain breed of dog or cat, chances are there’s a breed rescue club that can point you in the right direction of senior purebreds in need of homes.

Senior pets are great company for senior citizens.

Many elderly people find the calm presence of an older pet very comforting. They appreciate having a companion who is also “getting up there” in age, doesn’t mind hearing the same stories over and over again, and is content to move through life at a slower speed.

Older pets are relaxing.

Senior dogs and cats aren’t full of wild energy to burn. Because you’re not constantly chasing or cleaning up after your older pet, you’ll have a lot more time to spend finding fun things to do together.

Adopted senior pets are grateful for your kindness.

Somehow, older pets seem to know you gave them a home when no one else would. Many new owners form a close bond very quickly with their senior dog or cat because their new pet shows them a level of attention and devotion that’s unique to older adopted animals.

You can be a hero to a deserving dog or cat.

Almost without exception, people who adopt older animals feel a special sense of pride and purpose in opening their hearts to a hard-to-place pet. Doing good really does make you feel good!

Age is
Just a

What’s more important is how young-hearted you are inside! The same holds true for people and pets, and a loving animal / owner relationship puts new life back in our seniors. That’s why we created the PAWS Program to feature senior pets who simply need a warm lap and loving hand during their golden years.

About Senior Pets


Average number of months a senior animal waits for a forever home.


Years at which a pet is eligible for the PAWS Program discount (even though many breed life expectancies are 12-18 years)


Percent of senior animals who end up with an upper respiratory illness after arrival due to depression and the stress of the kennel environment

Frequently Asked Questions

Which animals are PAWS eligible?

Animals ages 5yrs and up. Age is noted on each animals’ cage card.

What if I adopt two PAWS animals?

You’ll get the same great discount on both!

Do I still get all HSHC adoption benefits?

Absolutely. All the standard HSHC adoption benefits apply to our PAWS animals, too.

Are there any adoption restrictions?

Because the adoption fee is already significantly discounted, no other promotional offers apply. There may also be some exceptions to animals who are part of the Survivor Program.

Senior Success Story: Penny

Read Penny's Story

Penny was surrendered to HSHC by her family at age seven. She suffered from a painful Cherry Eye condition that required surgery and ongoing medication, as well as thyroid/weight issues. To top it off, Penny needed to be the only dog in the home.

After HSHC covered her medical treatment, and a loving foster home got her through her eye surgeries, Penny was returned to the shelter to await adoption. However, the stress and loud noises of the kennel took its toll. HSHC contacted newly-registered foster Nicole and asked if she would give Penny a break from the shelter. In less than a week, Nicole declared “foster failure” and signed the adoption papers. Now twelve, Penny is healthy, happy, spoiled, and living out her golden years in the wilds of Montana.

  • No one can believe Penny is twelve. She’s healthier, happier, and more active than dogs half her age!

    Nicole Ross

  • Not everyone wants a puppy and the potty training, destruction, and energy that comes with them. Senior pets are the perfect alternative.

    Nicole Ross

Love & Let Live

Every animal deserves a second chance at love — and life. We invite you to be part of the solution and give back to the animals who give us so much.