Westminster's star senior 'Stumps' for older dogs

A world class beauty with an AARP card?

Yes, indeed. When 10-year-old Stump the Sussex Terrier won the top prize at the 133rd Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show this week, seniors everywhere - human and dog alike - took notice. 

Here was a formerly retired competitor who should have been curled up by a fire somewhere trotting across the ring to take the crown Best in Show. (click here for Ten Fun Facts about Stump) The message wasn't lost on animal shelters across the country which quickly reminded us that many senior dogs and cats are surrendered or found as strays every year.

But, as Stump so wonderfully demonstrated, that doesn't mean they don't have a lot of spunk and love left.

"Fourteen is the new 10," said Bill Smith of Main Line Animal Rescue in Chester Springs, who estimates about two dozen of the 165 dogs in his shelter are seniors (that's roughly over 10 for little dogs and about 7 or 8 for large dogs, but it varies by breed and breeding).

The Pennsylvania SPCA in Philadelphia among other area shelters is seeing a growing number of senior pets that are victims of the economic crisis.

“Older pets make excellent additions to any family,” said PSPCA Director of Adoptions Ray Little. “They are already past the puppy and kitten stages when they need constant attention, and in the case of dogs, most are already housebroken. All these companion animals need are loving homes.”

"14 is the new 10," said Bill Smith of Main Line Animal Rescue in Chester Springs who estimates about two dozen of the 165 dogs in his shelter are seniors (that's over 10 for little dogs and about 7 or 8 for large dogs).

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