This holiday season, give the gift of family to senior pets

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As I write this blog about senior pets who need homes for the holidays, Doodles, a tiny 10-year-old, formerly stray Chihuahua whose life before me remains a dark mystery, snores sweetly on my lap. I recently adopted her from In the Arms of Angels, a Tucson, Ariz., group that received one of the Petfinder Foundation’s photography grants.


Doodles is a dutiful model when the Petfinder Foundation needs a photo illustration. (Photo credit: Karen Hollish)

The photos of adoptable senior pets in the gallery below come from organizations that received pet-photography training and equipment through the One Picture Saves a Life program. The Petfinder Foundation manages the program in partnership with “Underwater Dogs” photographer Seth Casteel, The Animal Rescue Site, John Paul Pet and

With November being Adopt A Senior Pet Month — and the Petfinder Foundation having a soft spot for older pets — I reached out to this year’s One Picture grant recipients to ask if they had any older pets they wanted us to help promote. Within moments of hitting “send,” my inbox was filled with crisp, eye-catching pictures that showed the charming personalities of pets like Sully (below).

Sully is waiting at Frank Barchard Memorial Animal Shelter in Wolfe City, Tex.

Sully is waiting at Frank Barchard Memorial Animal Shelter in Wolfe City, Tex. (Photo credit: Debra Jones)

“Sully is a blond Chihuahua who has had a hard life,” Debra Jones of Frank Barchard Memorial Animal Shelter in Wolfe City, Tex., tells us. “As you can see, he has no front teeth so he has a hard time corralling his tongue. He has been adopted and returned, so he needs a special home with a lot of patience and love for this old guy.”

The grant, Jones adds, helped her step up to fill a great need for the organization.

“The camera has been out working its little shutter off and has photographed about 70 of our shelter pets!” Jones says. “Our photos have been neglected because our volunteer who had been taking them is consumed with her college classes, so this grant and the presentation at the workshop in Austin allowed me to step in and help with this huge task.”

Even if you aren’t able to adopt one of the senior pets from our gallery below, you can help them find homes by liking and sharing the full album that’s on the Petfinder Foundation’s Facebook page.

Doodles’ transformation story speaks to the power of senior pet adoption. Surrendered as a stray to a crowded local shelter, she was competing with much younger pets for adopters’ attention. When In the Arms of Angels took Doodles in, they knew nothing about this small, frightened girl, who had been cowering on the bottom of her kennel.

From the comfort of our home, Doodles has since come of out of her shell, and we gather we’re giving this senior girl the very best years of her life. Dear Doodles (who is still snoring on my lap, by the way) hopes you will share these pets’ photos and stories to help them find homes, donate to the Petfinder Foundation’s grant programs that support senior pets, or — even better — give the gift of a forever family to one of the senior pets below.