Adoptable Senior Pets :: Searching for a Home in Marathon County for Their Golden Years

Written by Lisa Leitermann

At the Humane Society of Marathon County, we classify pets as seniors if they are 8 years or older. We recognize that companion pets can live well beyond 8 years old (sometimes even double!), but that’s our benchmark in the shelter setting.

According to 2018 data, 3% of the cats we received fit the senior category, as did 16% of the dogs we received.

Samuel the Dog, a senior pet waiting to be adopted from HSMC. (Photo courtesy of HSMC.)

We receive senior pets for a variety of reasons; such as the health or death of an owner, the health of the pet, an owner moving or going to an assisted living facility, because they are simply unwanted or arrive to us as strays and are not claimed by their owners.

Currently in our care, we have 2 senior dogs and 4 senior cats available for adoption.

Miley the Cat, a senior pet waiting to be adopted from HSMC. (Photo courtesy of HSMC.)

Applications for adoption can be found at, or paper copies are available at the shelter (7001 Packer Drive, Wausau).

The application process includes background, reference, and veterinary checks. We’d like everyone in the household to visit with the new pet, and dog-to-dog visits are required if looking to adopt a dog and you already have one at home.

We verify that you own your home or require signed landlord consent on our letterhead.

Buddy the Dog, a senior pet waiting to be adopted from HSMC. (Photo courtesy of HSMC.)

The adoption fee for a senior dog is $125.00 plus tax, though senior pet adoption fees are often sponsored in full by community supporters.

Hamilton the Cat, a senior pet waiting to be adopted from HSMC. (Photo courtesy of HSMC.)

The adoption fee for a senior cat is half of the normal fee, making females $50.00 plus tax and males $30.00 plus tax.

We also have a Senior for Seniors program which allows senior-aged adults (age 65 and older) to adopt senior-aged pets (age 8 and older) for half of the adoption fee!

Senior for Seniors adoption 7/19/2019; pictured is Mouse, the 10-year-old Chihuahua, with her new mom, Sharon.  (Photo courtesy of HSMC.)

The Humane Society of Marathon County (HSMC) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that has been established in the Wausau area since the 1950s. The vision of HSMC is a cruelty-free community enriched by the special bond between people and animals. Our mission is to inspire and engage the community to end animal suffering and commit to responsible pet ownership. We achieve that mission by visiting schools to educate children on responsible pet ownership, hosting a low-cost “spay + neuter” program on a monthly basis, offering discounted microchipping services, and more.

HSMC has a county contract for the impound of stray dogs, and we contract out non-dog stray services on a per municipality basis. HSMC is also the designated facility for bite quarantine, in addition to having service contracts with several area law enforcement agencies for neglect/cruelty investigations and/or when animals need to be taken into custody after owner arrest.

Briqs Donation to Humane Society of Marathon County
Staff from Briq’s Soft Serve stopped in with a truckload of donations and over $1,500 for HSMC in August 2019. (Photo courtesy HSMC.)

HSMC is an unlimited intake facility, which means we service the community as a place to house stray/abandoned animals in addition to taking owner surrenders.

We have an adoption program in place to find qualified and permanent homes for our animals based on an application process that involves background, veterinary, and reference checks. Animals leave our facility vaccinated, sterilized, and microchipped.

We are privileged to be able to provide additional veterinary care as needed when an animal comes in with manageable medical needs. During their stay with us, animal lives are enriched by our caring staff and dedicated volunteers.

Jordy the Dog, a senior pet who was adopted from HSMC in July 2019. (Photo courtesy of HSMC.)

More information about any of the adoptable senior pets showcased in this article — as well as the others not pictured here — can be found at, which is updated in real time.

Please consider if adopting a senior pet is right for you…

Poster about adopting an older pet

To close, I’ll leave you with this heart-warming Senior Pet Adoption story from our own Elisabeth Burnett:

“I adopted a senior dog named Monster from the Humane Society of Marathon County in 2015. As an employee of HSMC, 13-year-old Monster and his sweet, gentle soul really grew on me while he was in our care.

Monster was at the shelter for over 6 months; he received a lot of interest and visits, but we were unable to find anyone who was ready to commit to loving and providing for him during his golden years. I knew he was deserving of the type of home I could provide, so while I wasn’t looking to add another animal to my home, I finally made the decision to adopt him — at 13 ½ years young — after he spent 203 days in the shelter.”  

Monster - dog on deck
Monster, a senior pet adopted at 13 ½ years young. (Photo courtesy of Elisabeth Burnett.)

“We weren’t sure how much time we would have to love him, but we knew we would love him hard and make sure that the rest of his days were the best of his days. He loved my cats from the moment he joined our family and even eventually learned to love my other dog, too.”

Monster the dog and friend
Monster (right) eventually became buddies with our existing dog, Fayra. (Photo courtesy of Elisabeth Burnett.)

“One of the many great things about adopting a senior pet is that they’re already housebroken and have basic training!

At first, Monster didn’t seem interested in bonding with us, and at times he seemed uncomfortable with his new life. But over time, we really grew on him, and Monster came to love us as much as we loved him. Coming home to Monster was the best part: He was always there to greet us at the door, most of the time bringing along anything he could quickly grab (from slippers to toys to his food bowl and even a mop bucket)! We gave Monster the time and the love he deserved, but we really won his heart when we moved out to the country and he got to run free through the fields and woods, living his best life.”

Monster - dog running in field
Monster running in a field at his new, adoptive home. (Photo courtesy of Elisabeth Burnett.)

“Monster passed away on August 11, 2017; we had more time with him than we expected, but no amount of time is ever enough, especially with a senior pet. If I could go back, I would have adopted him sooner so he could have spent those 6 months on my couch at home instead of at the shelter.”

Lisa_LeitermannLisa Leitermann

Executive Director  |  Humane Society Marathon County

Lisa Leitermann is the Executive Director of the Humane Society of Marathon County (HSMC). She has worked with the shelter for 12 years and is passionate about making a difference in the lives of animals and the people who love them. HSMC cares for approximately 1,400 animals annually and has a volunteer base of 150 plus dedicated community members. In addition to providing adoption services and volunteer opportunities, the shelter provides resources to owners who have lost their pets, offers discounted microchipping services, hosts vaccine and spay/neuter clinics, and offers tours and learning opportunities to local groups and schools.  Email Lisa Lietermann.

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