For the month of November, Montclair Township Animal Shelter (MTAS) will focus on its often overlooked mature animals by joining shelters across the country to celebrate Adopt-A-Senior-Pet Month. Throughout the month, adoption fees on any senior animal will be half-price. And, as a senior animal’s perfect match is often an older owner, adoption fees will be waived for any senior citizen (aged 65+) who adopts a senior pet during the month.

While it’s understandable that many potential adopters are looking for a younger pet to grow with their family, young animals require hours of training, according to Melissa Neiss, shelter coordinator. Since senior pets are already housebroken, are fully grown, and have settled into their personalities, they tend to be well-matched with more mature adopters. And, studies have shown that owning a pet can provide health benefits to seniors, including lowering blood pressure and reducing anxiety and loneliness.

The shelter is in the planning stages of a community outreach program for senior adopters residing in the Montclair area (aiming to include Bloomfield, Glen Ridge, Nutley, Verona, The Caldwells, The Oranges and Belleville), to make it easier for animal and human to live out their golden years together. The goal is to build a network of volunteers who can assist the senior with pet care, (while checking in on both the animal and owner’s well-being), provide donated pet food if needed, and to have some local vets and pet service providers sign on to offer a discount on their services to these senior adopters. Any community groups or businesses interested in teaming up to provide support for this initiative are encouraged to contact the shelter.

Montclair Township Animal Shelter is located at 77 North Willow Street, close to Walnut Street Station. Public hours are Tuesday, 2-6 pm, Wednesday, 2-4 pm, and Friday to Sunday, 2-4 pm. Off-day appointments are available by contacting the shelter at 973-744-8600 or All adoptable pets are spayed/neutered and up-to-date on vaccinations. MTAS can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.

Melissa Neiss notes that as of this writing, there are currently no senior dogs at the shelter but that could change throughout the month.

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