Why You Should Adopt a Senior Pet

November is Adopt a Senior Pet Month, and we are here to walk you through some of the reasons why you should adopt a senior pet! When considering adopting a new pet, it’s easy to think that getting a puppy or kitten is the way to go. But hey, ten years is the new ten months!

  1. Senior pets have a clear purr-sonality: While it may take months or even years for a younger pet’s personality to fully develop, when you adopt a senior pet, oftentimes, what you see is what you get! If you’ve fallen in love with an older cuddle bug in the shelter, you will most likely get a cuddle bug at home as well. However, keep in mind that all pets will need some time to adjust to a new environment, just like we do!
  2. Older pets often require less training and supervision: Want a pet but don’t want to deal with potty training? Senior pets are here for you! Barring a short adjustment period as your new pet learns the rules of their new home, senior animals often come with a set of manners built in! So whether you’re looking for a pup to walk politely on leash or a kitty who knows how to use the litter box, a elder pet could definitely be the one to fulfill your wish!
  3. Senior pets (especially cats) live longer than you might think: Although 7 years old is often considered the age at which an animal enters the senior stage of life, this doesn’t mean they don’t have plenty of happy years ahead of them! Indoor cats, in particular, can often live to be over 20 years old if given proper care! Just be sure to keep up on vet visits and ensure your furry friends have all the care they need at home and on the go.
  4. Not all older pets are couch potatoes: While some seniors may prefer a home where they can snooze on a comfy sofa, plenty of older pets don’t let their age slow them down! So don’t disregard an older pet just because you don’t think they’ll want to accompany you on a brisk walk or chase a feather toy– their senior spark might surprise you!
  5. Save a life… and some cash: Many shelters have discounts on older pets in order to help get them adopted… sometimes senior pets even come with $0 worth of adoption fees! That’s right– you don’t have to break the bank to bring home a new best friend! To sweeten the deal, senior pets adopted from the Humane Society of Utah come spayed/neutered, vaccinated, and microchipped just like their younger compatriots, so you won’t have to worry about those costs adding up, either!

All Adoption Fees Waived Thanks to Mountain America Credit Union

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Nov. 13, 2022

News Release

All Adoption Fees Waived Thanks to Mountain America Credit Union

Murray – Utah, Nov. 13, 2022 – Mountain America Credit Union and the Humane Society of Utah (HSU) have teamed up to present the ‘Fall in Love Adoption Special’ the week before Thanksgiving for the fifth year. As part of this special, Mountain America will cover the cost of all animals’ adoption fees from Monday, Nov. 14, through Friday, Nov. 18.

Mountain America and HSU created the ‘Fall in Love Adoption Special’ in 2018 to find homes for as many pets as possible. Since then, this event has helped more than 500 pets find homes. This year, the event is particularly critical because HSU began experiencing a slowdown in adoptions alongside the dramatic increase in intake. 

Juli Ulvestad, HSU’s Pet Resource Center Director, explained, “Our data shows that the housing crisis has affected potential adopters and owners since early 2021, but now it’s reached a boiling point. Coupled with the increase in rent rates, families have shared that they can no longer afford extra costs for adoption fees and food, let alone medical care or the monthly pet fee required by many rental facilities.”

Housing any pet longer than usual puts a strain on the animal, HSU’s resources, and the number of new pets the nonprofit organization can bring in. This event can ease some of the financial burdens for adopters and help countless pets find homes during the holiday while allowing additional homeless pets to be welcomed at the Humane Society of Utah to receive veterinary care and safe shelter.

“Mountain America is pleased to continue to help the Humane Society of Utah with their lifesaving mission through our ‘Fall in Love’ adoption event,” said Sharon Cook, chief marketing officer at Mountain America Credit Union. “By waiving adoption fees, we help remove financial barriers that help bring pets and people together and clear the shelter to create more room for other homeless pets.”

During the Fall in Love Adoption Event, animals will be adopted on a first-come, first-served basis. Appointments are not necessary. To qualify for the waived adoption fee, interested adopters must adopt a pet during the designated time frame from our Pet Resource Center located at 4242 S 300 W in Murray, Utah, between 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. All adoptions are pending approval through the regular adoption process.

Adoption fees do not cover the cost of care for shelter animals, and as a local, private nonprofit 501(c) (3) organization, HSU appreciates donations of any kind.

Photos for media use can be downloaded here.    

Suggested Tweet: Come #FallinLove @utahhumane 11/14-11/18 during their Fall in Love adoption special. All adoption fees are generously covered by @mountainamerica. (insert your link) 

Humane Society of Utah Hires New Resource Center Veterinarian

We are so excited to announce that we have hired the incredible Dr. Libby Gutting as our new resource center veterinarian!

We recently had the opportunity to conduct a short interview with Dr. Libby to get to know her and her journey to the Humane Society of Utah.

How did you find yourself at HSU?

I graduated from vet school at Oklahoma State University in 2010.  After that I stayed in Oklahoma and did a year-long Shelter Medicine and Surgery Internship. I then moved to Milwaukee, where I was the Medical Director at Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control for the past 11 years.  

After that long, I felt it was time for me to learn more and offer my experience somewhere else. I wanted to stay in the animal welfare field, as it is where my heart is, so I began my search looking for a position closer to my family, who all live in states surrounding Utah, so this was the perfect place for me!

What does a typical day on the job look like for you?

I’ve been doing a mix between the shelter and surgery so far.  I enjoy being part of a team that is made up of different departments that have unique perspectives on plans for the animals coming into care in the shelter.  I love working with the shelter animals, doing exams and pathway planning, but am excited to use my surgery skills and expand them as well.

What’s your favorite thing about your job so far?

I really enjoy the collaborative environment I’ve experienced so far here.  I feel lucky that I get to spend time in the clinic AND in the shelter and get to be part of both teams.  All have been fantastic! I have really been impressed by the education of staff as well.  Everyone is so invested in learning and growing, which I think is a sign of an amazing team.

One of my favorite things about shelter medicine is that every day is different, so it never gets boring.  And I have definitely already experienced that at HSU.  You never know what new and interesting cases you will see every day.

Do you have any advice for people who’d like to enter your field of work?

It can be a tough job, physically and emotionally, but it is worth it to help the lives of the animals and see so many enter the perfect home.  Being a veterinarian requires a lot of educational commitment, but I can’t imagine having done anything else.  

Anything else you’d like to share?

I’m just happy to be getting to know everyone and learn what HSU is all about.  I appreciate the welcome I’ve received and am excited to grow in my career here. (END)

We are so thrilled to have you on the team, Dr. Libby! Thank you so much for all you have done so far, we are excited to see what the future holds!

Extending the Rule of 3’s: Lolly’s 3-Year Gotcha Day

Lolly, a dark brindle dog with a white stripe up her nose, poses on a white backdrop while wearing a white banana.

Here at the Humane Society of Utah, we love to tell adopters about the rule of 3’s. The rule of 3’s gives adopters an idea of what to expect when bringing home a new furry friend. 

The first 3 days allow the pet to decompress in a new environment. The first 3 weeks are for bonding and creating a routine, and the first 3 months help you solidify this routine and understand your pet more. Keeping the rule of 3’s in mind can help set you and your pet up for a happy life together. However, we often don’t discuss what happens after a pet has settled in and truly becomes part of the family. That’s why we decided to check in on Lolly and her owner Kev to discuss how Lolly is doing 3 years post-adoption.

Lolly Finds a Home

In 2019 a lovely dog named Chess came into our care. Kev knew he wanted a dog and often checked the Humane Society of Utah website. When he saw her picture, he immediately fell in love! Kev says that he got in his car, drove to our Pet Resource Center, and told the adoption counselor, “That’s my dog!” Our adoption counselor recommended they meet and go for a walk, but Kev knew that Chess was the dog for him. Sure enough, when they met, it was love at first sight! “We went out into the yard, and I introduced myself to her… she responded with a kiss. Her smile just really captures your heart because it quite literally lights up the room,” Kev remembers of their first meeting. As you can guess, Kev adopted Chess and changed her name to Lolly.

Lolly, a dark brindle dog with a white stripe up her nose, wears a bunny ears headband while looking up at the camera.

Lolly Becomes Family

Throughout the years Lolly has truly become a member of Kev’s family. Lolly has really found love in many things, specifically going on walks. “You could take her on a 20 mile walk and be home for five minutes, but if you pick up her leash again, she will undoubtedly get just as excited to go back out.” Kev reports that Lolly is also a big fan of toys and food, so if you combine those with going on a walk, Lolly is in heaven! Over the three years (and counting!) Lolly has been home with Kev. He says that she has added adventure to his life. “I love Lolly’s sense of adventure and adaptability. She is not scared of a hike, she is not afraid to go for a walk in the snow, and she is okay with a night in.” Kev also said that Lolly has made him a “happier and patient person” and that she has taught him so much about life. It’s clear that Kev and Lolly were meant to find each other!

Lolly, a dark brindle dog with a white stripe up her nose, sits in her owner Kev's lap on the ground both have smiling faces.

Thinking Long Term

We love hearing stories like Kev and Lolly’s! If you’ve adopted from the Humane Society and want to share an update on your pet, you can join this Facebook page. Although life can sometimes be stressful when you are a new adopter, the rule of 3’s and thinking long-term can help immensely with the transition. We truly believe that pets add many aspects to life, and that’s why our adoption counselors work so hard to help match you with the right pet. In addition, our Behavior team is always happy to help give advice post-adoption. 

When asked what advice he would give to potential adopters, Kev said, “Go play with some animals! Animals have their own personalities and have such unique forms of love. There is truly an animal for everyone.” If you’re considering adoption, you can view our adoptable pets on our website or call (801) 261-2919 ext. 227 with any questions. 

Gary’s Journey: Looks Aren’t Everything

Gary, a three-year-old American Bulldog weighing nearly 100 pounds, arrived at our Pet Resource Center in Murray in early July with gnarly scratches on his face and his tail between his legs. This droopy-faced pup had been attacked repeatedly by two dogs in his previous home and was injured as a result. But, according to his previous owners, Gary didn’t have an aggressive bone in his body and never once fought back. They called him their “gentle giant” and described him as a dog who loved cuddling with the family cat and greeting other pups on walks with an exuberant tail wag. Gary proved looks aren’t everything.

Gary a large white dog with a black nose and scars on his face wearing a purple and white bowtie collar, stands against a grey backdrop with colorful paper flowers.

Gary’s Journey

But, despite Gary’s friendly demeanor, he would have a hard time at our center getting anyone to give him a second look, let alone a second chance. He was too big and too energetic, and of course, the jagged marks on his face didn’t help. 

HSU’s Corporate Giving and Communications Manager, Shannon Egan, closely watched Gary’s journey at our center. “Potential adopters would see how big he was and then notice the wounds on his face and assume the worst,” she shared. “They’d carefully move past his kennel as if they were afraid of him.”

As the weeks went by, Gary rarely had a visitor. At HSU, we know it’s essential to consider one’s lifestyle before adopting so you can choose a pet that will fit in nicely. However, it’s also important to take notice of any indiscretions we may show in the unfair judging of pets based solely on the way they appear. “If potential adopters had taken the time to get to know Gary, they’d have found he is house-trained, knows all kinds of tricks, and is a very good boy!” Shannon explained. 

Gary a large white dog with a black nose and scars on his face sits in the grass looking up at the camera smiling.

Gary Becomes a Staff and Volunteer Favorite

After nearly a month at our shelter, Gary’s wounds turned to scars, and he passed the time by interacting with other dogs in playgroups and going on walks with our staff and volunteers. Our team fell in love with him and promoted him on social media to better his chances of finding a home. Finally, on July 28th, a potential adopter named Cade stopped by to visit him. Before the visit, Cade had taken the time to research Gary’s breed so he knew what it would entail to give him the best possible life. That day, Cade and Gary spent quality time in our outdoor play yard, and then they went home together. 

Gary’s journey reminds us of the common misconception that shelter animals are surrendered due to behavioral issues, illnesses, or for being high maintenance. But like Gary, so many homeless pets end up in shelters for no fault of their own. People surrender their pets for various reasons: they’re experiencing financial issues, the passing of a loved one, or they’re blending into a new family, and pets don’t get along with each other. 

Shannon explained, “Most pets who come to us have a proven track record of being great companions, just like Gary. We advise potential adopters to keep an open mind and heart when meeting all animals in shelters. These pets have lost their families and homes and are now in a stressful new environment. Go easy on them. Give them the patience and understanding they deserve.” 

Mitts’ Story: An Untrusting Cat Finds a True Friend

Mitts, a five-year-old cat with white-colored paws, came to the Humane Society of Utah’s Pet Resource Center in a mood – and she had every right to be. She’d just been surrendered to us by her owners for soiling the house and was recently diagnosed with urine crystals, which occur when the urine pH is off balance. These crystals make urination difficult and can be very painful and dangerous.  

Black cat with white chin, chest, and toes sit on a tan leather chair.

Testy temperament

After Mitts received a thorough exam by our veterinarian, she was placed on a lifelong prescription diet to keep her pH levels balanced and then placed for adoption. Mary Wilson, our long-time Kitty City volunteer, remembers Mitts well. “She wasn’t the friendliest cat – very undersocialized. She seemed untrusting and would hiss, swat, and try to bite at anyone who came to visit her. Eventually, we had to lock the door to her room, and visitors could only see her with staff supervision.”

Due to Mitts’ testy temperament, it took a while for her to find a home. One month passed by, then three, then five. During this time, she stopped eating regularly, and our adoption staff grew concerned for her well-being. They’d grown very fond of Mitts and wanted her to find a home, but they were losing hope. 

Mitts a black cat and white cat sits on top of cabinet next to white orchid plant.

“Mitts sounded like a project to me, and I could relate.”

Then, in March 2022, David, a 69-year-old senior, read Mitts’ bio on our website and found her story appealing. It told of a cat that was a long-time resident who was very shy towards new people but had the potential to warm up with time, love, and care. Her bio also recommended that Mitts be placed in a low-traffic home without other pets or kids. David’s home fit this description perfectly, and he was intrigued by the challenge. “Mitts sounded like a project to me, and I could relate. Since I had recently filed for divorce, moved from a house to an apartment, and had three heart surgeries, I felt like a project myself. We were both going through a transition, so she seemed the perfect fit.”

When David first met Mitts in Kitty City, she was withdrawn and glared at him hostilely. But David didn’t take it personally. He understood she’d had a rough go at it and was probably stressed, so he sat with her patiently. “I didn’t try to touch or get close to her. I let her be, and she seemed to appreciate that.” After some time together, Mitts gave David a few slow blinks to let him know she felt comfortable resting with him, and he decided to adopt her that day. 

Our adoption staff and volunteers were over the moon with this news. Mary shared, “David seemed to know what Mitts needed most. He took time to understand her and let her get accustomed to him. He was willing to give her all the time she needed, and while she may never be a lap cat, I believe she can really blossom with him.” 

Meet our long-term residents in Kitty City

If you are interested in adopting one of the current long-term residents in Kitty City, visit Tinkerbell, Clover, or Princess Bell online or in person at 4242 South 300 West in Murray.

Animal Shelters Across Utah are Full: Humane Society of Utah Offers Half-Off Adoption Fees to Encourage Adoptions. 

Contact: Guinn Shuster
Email: guinn@utahhumane.org                              

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 15, 2022

Murray — Utah, June 15, 2022 — Humane Society of Utah (HSU) offers half off all adoption fees through June 30, during the Summer of Love adoption special. Each pet for adoption has been spayed/neutered, vaccinated, microchipped, and medically and behaviorally assessed.

“Shelters across the state are at or over capacity.”, said HSU Associate Director of Marketing and Communications Guinnevere Shuster. “Adoptions are slowing down, and animals are waiting longer than usual to get adopted. By making adoption affordable for everyone we hope to move homeless pets into loving homes.”

There are additional benefits of adopting from the Humane Society of Utah:

  • HSU offers training advice from certified dog trainers and educational information to support pet families for the animal’s life span
  • 10% off preventative veterinary care services at our Murray location clinic for the pet’s life
  • Speak or email with an expert about any behavior or training concerns
  • By opening your heart and home to a new pet, you will help create space in the shelter for other homeless companion animals in need

Adoptable pets come with a free wellness exam from one of our Participating Veterinary Clinics within 30 days of adoption

HSU works with numerous local and rural animal shelters throughout the state of Utah to transfer in at-risk animals. Year-to-date, HSU has transferred in 290 cats and dogs from Utah animal shelters to provide relief from overcrowding and help these homeless pets find homes.

“Many of our shelter partners here in Utah have reached out to the transfer department pleading for assistance with overcrowding,” said HSU Transfer Department Supervisor Spenser Betenson. “For example, in the first six days of June, Uintah County Animal Shelter brought in 54 animals, which is a massive number for a small rural shelter.”

By hosting this adoption special, the Humane Society of Utah hopes to encourage adoptions and make room for the increasing number of homeless pets.

June is Adopt a Cat Month! Here’s Why Cats Make Purr-fect Pets

It may be true that you can’t buy happiness, but you can adopt a cat, and we think that’s pretty dang close! June is National Adopt a Cat Month, and coming in on the heels of “kitten season” (the period of the year in which the most kittens are born), it’s the perfect time to think about adding a feline to the family.

What cat with orange ears sit on cat tree.

Here are a few reasons to consider a shelter kitty for your next pet:

  • You’re saving a life, maybe even multiple lives!
    • Adopting a cat not only makes for a happier and longer life for the animal you adopted, and for many cats who will come after them. We have far more animals on the planet than we have space for in animal shelters, and adopting one opens up room for another animal to have the chance at finding a home. So, you’re making a difference to far more cats than you may have thought!
  • Petting a cat a day keeps the doctor away?
    • You may have heard before that a cat’s purr has “healing powers”, but is that true? The short answer is yes! When you hold a purring cat, your body releases positive endorphins, which are basically happy chemicals for your brain. This can improve mental health and reduce stress, which means you are less at risk for stress-related medical complications. 
  • Cats are easy-going pets
    • Cats are notoriously independent, and they are a great option for pet owners who would like a lower-maintenance companion. “[Cats] don’t require a large amount of outdoor time and physical exercise,” said Gabby Davis, an HSU adoption counselor. “They are wonderful companions that are happy just existing in the same space as you while you complete your own activities, but love playtime, enrichment and training!”
  • Adopting a cat from a shelter is inexpensive
    • Not only is adopting a cat from a shelter going to save you money as compared to purchasing from a breeder, but shelter cats most often come with vaccinations, spayed/neutered, and have been recently examined by our medical team. Aside from saving a chunk of cash on those medical fees, adopting from a nonprofit like HSU means the money you pay for your kitty will go right back towards the care of other animals like them!
  • Cats are adorable
    • There’s a reason felines have ruled the internet for all these years– people can’t get enough of them! Not only do they have cute little faces and toe-beans, but they have silly and charming habits too, like chasing string toys or a catnip mouse. And, in our opinion, there is absolutely no feeling in the world like a cat cuddling up beside you.

Adopt One of These Shelter Cats!

  • Grey shelter cat looking up against black backdrop.
  • Blue eyed shelter cat lays on tile floor.
  • Black and white shelter cat plays with brown feather toy.
  • Long haired orange shelter cat lays on blue mat in studio with white backdrop.
  • Black and white cat looks up with big green eyes.

To view all our adoptable cats and kittens click here.

Mochi’s Story:  A Family’s Unexpected First Pet

Mochi was just four-months-old when he found himself up for adoption at the Humane Society of Utah’s Kitty City. This high-spirited, black and white striped kitten greeted everyone who passed by with an excited meow, as if to say, “pick me, pick me!” 

Adopting a Kitten

Shu Saito, one of HSU’s long-time corporate sponsors, took notice. Shu was visiting HSU that day to drop off, yet again, another generous donation to our nonprofit. Alongside him were his wife, Amy, and their five-year-old son, Kota. Amy and Kota had always wanted a cat of their own, but Shu had too many reservations. 

“My husband didn’t grow up with pets, so he didn’t know what to expect. He was worried that owning one would be more mess and responsibility than we could handle,” Amy explained. “But I told him on our way to HSU that it would be difficult for me to leave without adopting a kitten. I didn’t think in a million years he would be open to it.”

Amy grew up with cats and enjoyed their company so much; she is a “little obsessed.” She and Kota had tried to talk Shu into adopting one several times, but Shu wouldn’t budge. However, when Shu saw Kota and Mochi visiting that day, he had a change of heart. “Mochi and Kota got along from the start, and Kota was so excited to meet his new friend. It just felt right,” Amy shared.

A Family Falls In Love

The four of them have been a family for several months now, and it’s going better than expected. “There was a learning curve,” Amy explained. “We had to figure out Mochi’s personality and where we were going to put the litter box and how to keep it clean. But our son loves his new kitty so much. They sleep together every night.” 

Shu has fallen in love with Mochi, too, and vice versa. While Shu is lounging on the couch after a long day at work, Mochi will come to lay directly on top of him and fall asleep. “I love seeing the two of them together. It’s precious! Mochi has such a cute personality. He will bring us his little balls so we can play fetch, which I’ve never seen a cat do before.”  

Amy and her family are over the moon with their unexpected adoption. In a short time, Mochi has become an essential part of their family, and they wouldn’t have it any other way, litter box hassle and all.

Worth the Wait: Leo’s Story

Leo's story: black and tan bully breed missing fur stands in living room looking out patio door.

Our staff was heartbroken by the sight of Leo’s condition when he first arrived at the Humane Society of Utah in early 2022. Leo, a four-year-old bully breed mix, was severely malnourished and suffering from what appeared to be extreme allergies, which had led to hair loss and skin infections all over his body and in his ears. As a result of these infections, Leo’s body was covered in swollen red sores, pustules, and scabs. After our medical team assessed him, their number one priority became to help Leo gain weight and clear up his painful skin and ear infections as best they could.


Concerns of refeeding Syndrome

Unfortunately, due to Leo’s severe malnutrition, our medical team had concerns of refeeding syndrome, a severe and potentially fatal condition caused by sudden shifts in blood electrolyte levels. Since food deprivation changes the way one’s body metabolizes nutrients, there can be an abrupt electrolyte change when fat metabolism switches to carbohydrate metabolism in malnourished patients. To prevent this, HSU had to re-introduce food slowly. As a result, Leo’s healing process was prolonged and his energy low, but he made progress. 

Due to his severe medical issues, Leo was placed in our foster care program for a longer-than-average stay. His foster guardian and HSU’s Behavior and Training Manager, Anjela Sullenger, said, “He’s settling in with me and tolerating his new regime of taking medicated baths for his skin very well. He has become very affectionate with me and wants me  to sit and cuddle with him all day, which is very sweet.”


Leo's story: a severely malnourished black and tan dog stands looking out patio door. The dog is missing much fur and all ribs can be seen.

Leo’s true personality shines through

Anjela brings him to work with her every day to support Leo’s mental and emotional health. At our Pet Resource Center in Murray, Leo follows Anjela everywhere while hanging out at her office. If Anjela has to step out for a minute, Leo patiently waits by her office door for her to return. While at home together, their favorite thing to do is to sit and cuddle on the couch and catch up on Anjela’s favorite TV shows.

Anjela shared, “Leo gets along very well with my two dogs, although he is not interested in playing at the moment and not really up for much exercise. But I have high hopes that he will become more playful as he starts to feel better.”. 

HSU’s Resource Center Veterinarian, Dr. Meredith Bleuer, has been part of the team to help Leo recover. She adds,  “malnutrition is not only detrimental to metabolic function, but can also lead to many secondary problems such as skin abnormalities, delayed wound healing and major organ dysfunction.  It is important to ensure pets receive proper nutrients with a nutritionally balanced diet.”  



Worth the Wait

Over the next two months, Leo would require further visits with specialists to help get to the root of his skin issues. While visiting with the dermatologist veterinarians at Blue Pearl, it became apparent that Leo was suffering from an autoimmune skin disease. Luckily, he could make a full recovery with proper medication. While in Anjela’s care, Leo steadily began to gain weight, and his splotchy, scab-filled coat was eventually replaced with soft, velvety fur. 

Although Leo’s road to recovery has been long and challenging, our dedicated team, who never gave up, is happy to report that he was adopted on March 26th! He now spends his days cuddling with his new family and doggy friend on the couch. Leo is an excellent reminder that while most transformations don’t happen overnight, they are worth the wait when they finally do – and it’s important never to give up hope.