Ask Joan: Celebrating the joy pets bring to our lives
April 8, 2024

Q. Now that our kids have grown up and have families of their own, my husband and I are considering getting a dog. It’s been several years since we had a family pet, but we both agreed we miss having a four-legged friend around the house. We’ve thought about adoption and have been visiting shelters. What do you think?

AgeSpan CEO
Joan Hatem-Roy

A. As a devoted dog mom, I couldn’t imagine life without them. Pets have always been an important part of our family, and we are the proud parents of a rescue dog named Max and a Corgi named Willow.

Did you know that about half of adults in the U.S. over the age of 50 have a pet? You and your husband will be in good company.

And your timing couldn’t be better. April 11 is National Pet Day, which celebrates the joy pets bring into our lives and encourages people to reduce the number of animals in shelters. In addition to bringing attention to issues that affect animals, Pet Day is a good excuse to spend extra time with our animals.

Pet owners often describe their furry friends as much-loved members of the family, and giving an animal a second chance to have a good home through the adoption process is a wonderful and affordable way to expand your family. I adopted Max from Sweet Paws Rescue in Groveland.

Our pets add so much to our lives, including mental and physical benefits. Research shows pets can help decrease loneliness and feelings of stress and anxiety, lower our blood pressure, and boost our mood. Anyone who has ever come home after a long day knows how great it feels to spend time with their pet.

We love pets because they make us feel needed and help connect us with others. How many of us have stopped to meet a dog (and their owner) when out for a walk? It’s a wonderful way to meet people and maybe make some new friends.

Good luck with your adoption and enjoy the joys of pet parenting!

Are you caring for an older adult or need help locating healthy aging resources? Our experienced staff is available to help. Visit us online at You can also call 800-892-0890 or email

Joan Hatem-Roy is the Chief Executive Officer of AgeSpan.

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