Get rates for your pet:

See My Rates »
Retrieve a Saved Quote

The Healthy Paws Frosted Faces Awards

By Colleen Williams
November 9, 2018 • 8 min. read
Senior Dog

November is Adopt a Senior Pet Month in the US, where many shelters emphasize the importance of adopting older pets and discuss the challenges and joys of bringing in senior dogs and cats. At Healthy Paws, we have 292 pets enrolled who are aged 16 to 20 years old (100 dogs and 192 cats, in case you were wondering!), and we wanted to salute a few of them in honor of all-things-elder. Without further ado, here are some sensational silver snouts!

Corie + Scout
Scout is a cat, aged 20 years old.

On Adopting Scout:

“When I brought [Scout] home, she slept in between my neck and shoulder that night. Our great adventure began. I mulled over her name, something I think is as important to humans as it is to animals.  Of course I felt she was extraordinary, so no average name would do.  My roommates liked the name Savannah, but it didn’t look like her. I decided to name her after the spirited, tempestuous protagonist of one of the best books, Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird.  I’m not sure any other name would have been right.”

Scout’s Favorite Things:

“Twenty years later, she has lived up to that personage. As a kitten she liked to break things…..not sure why, but she always made sure I was watching. I started tacking down breakables with blue putty (the water gun discipline didn’t seem to faze her stubbornness!). She eventually got over it for the most part. She was willful, but playful. She was good around other animals, and adapted well, which was great because we moved around quite a bit.  She loves sweets, but no fish. Her favorite treats are the crumbs from pizza, pop tarts, and my Grandmother’s pumpkin bread. Her favorite toy in the whole world is Ratherbee’s bright orange catnip carrot. She used to get one every Christmas, but as she gets older, a few extra have popped up for birthdays, too. Even at 20, she still likes to jump on my coffee table and lick the salt off pistachios and then knock them around the kitchen like hockey pucks.”

Celebrating the Big 2-0

“About two years ago on her birthday, I decided to visit the place where I got her.  It’s now used as the admissions building for the SPCA of Wake County. There is a brand new facility a few miles down the road from it. The wonderful staff there helped me track down her official adoption date, a [daunting] task as the records in 1998 were not computerized yet. I wanted to celebrate her big 20 on the right day. I brought doughnuts for the staff to celebrate her day and brought one doughnut home to share with Scout. With her official exam putting her birthday in the first two weeks of July, I gave her the birth date of July 11, the same day in 1960 that To Kill A Mockingbird was published. But the day we really kick up is October 3, which is the day two me-s became a we.”


Leslie & Jackson
Jackson is an 18-year-old Toy Poodle Mix.

On Adopting Jackson

“One day in February 2012, I drove two hours from San Diego to high-kill shelter in San Bernardino to rescue/foster a dog named Champ who’d been dumped by his family on Valentine’s Day. With a three day hold for owner-relinquished pets, he was on his final day. I arrived around 3:00 p.m. and learned he’d just been adopted. I phoned the rescue I was working with and shared the good news, but they suggested I go inside and look for a small black toy poodle mix who was also on his last day. Maybe he’d be the right size for me and I could possibly adopt him instead of just foster.”

“I went inside, asked about this little guy, and was told he was in with the cats (he’d pick fights with the big dogs in his cage, so the cat cages it was). I remember walking into the cattery and there he was – this scrawny, shaved, black little poodle scared to death among probably 60 cats, all in separate crates stacked floor to ceiling. The shelter worker went to pull Jackson from his crate and handed him to me. He was shaking and clearly terrified. He instantly wrapped both of his front paws around my arm and held on tight like those little toy koala bears with the shoulders you can pinch to open and close their arms. Well, that was it. I was a goner. They insisted on neutering him at his age and wouldn’t relinquish to me until they had, so I drove home and back the next day to pick him up post-surgery.”

Jackson’s New Home in Dallas

“Jackson fit in perfectly with my dog, Percy, an 11-year old Shih Tzu I’d adopted at the age of 8. They were ‘Percy and Jackson’ for the next four years through all the drives up and down Coast Highway in San Diego, walks at the most beautiful parks and on the beach daily, trips to family and friends’ homes, restaurants, stores and anywhere else I was allowed to bring them. We were a happy family of three. Then in June of 2016, we left San Diego for Dallas and I found a cute one-story house with a nice big yard and a doggy door allowing them even more freedom than they had in our California condo with only a small balcony on the second floor. Giving up great weather for a nice house was a trade-off we were happy with.”

Jackson’s Rap Sheet

“Among the many things Jackson has been through since he came to live with me:

  • 18 teeth pulled
  • Three bouts of IMHA (a potentially deadly immune disease)
  • Bitten by a husky requiring surgery
  • Collapsing trachea
  • Enlarged heart
  • Hard of hearing
  • Blind to everything but bright light
  • Able to smell a male foster dog within a wide radius and somehow attack him with no vision and his three remaining teeth”

Jackson is a big fan of Healthy Paws

“On a side note, I asked Healthy Paws for a summary of my claim total and their reimbursements to me and I was floored. In the nearly 7 years I’ve had Jackson, I’ve submitted claims totaling $26,976 and Healthy Paws has reimbursed me for $23,029. They literally saved Jackson’s life many times.”


Jessica + Vinny
Vinny’s full name is ‘Vincent Van Cat’ and is “19.75 years young.”

On Adopting Vinny

“I knew from the moment I saw that goofy teenage kitten hanging upside down from the cat tree at the local shelter that we were meant for each other! Being only 14 at the time and therefore a goofy teenager myself, it was a match made in heaven!”

Vinny’s Favorite Things

“He never lets me forget that the last few drops of milk are his and that all meat is better when shared. He will always love kibbles no matter how few teeth he has left and he greets me with a slew of licks and a serenade of meows every time I enter the room, (even if I’ve only been gone for 5 minutes). Vinny is the kind of guy who greets new dogs like old friends and loves everyone he meets! He loves to ride in the car and is also hands down world’s best snuggler!!!!”

Jessica & Vinny’s Life Together

“Nineteen years later we have truly grown up together: We have experienced life, love and loss together. We have lived in the heart of downtown and the middle of the country. Vinny braved the great outdoors many times as a young cat and lived to tell the tale, although nowadays he’ll settle for a sunny window!”

“Vinny is in excellent health for his age and still goes crazy with a good toy now and again. He is enjoying his golden years of retirement watching the birds and deer from his favorite window and being spoiled rotten…How lucky a girl am I to have been able to share so many amazing, adventure-filled years with this fine fellow?!? Hoping for at least 20 more!!!”


Maria + Scout
Scout is a cat; aged 19 years old.

On Adopting Scout

“Scout came to us as a gift, actually! Nineteen years ago. We’d just had two cats die within a relatively short period of time. Down to just one cat, my friend thought of us when she found this little kitten while camping in the Adirondacks. This is how we came to adopt Scout.”

Scout’s Favorite Things

“Scout’s favorite activities include: laying in the sun or under a shady tree, going for walks with us in the yard, trying very hard to get his sister Liberty’s food, being exactly in the middle of any game we play, and being 3″ from my face when I wake up in the morning.  He’s the sweetest.”


Ann & Carl with Ari
Ari is a 17-year-old dog

On Adopting Ari

“At 17 years old, Ari is still his feisty self with shih-tzu attitude. We adopted him at 9 weeks old. He was the first pup that our normally good natured bichon frise, Shomer, actually liked. Ari, on the other hand, gave a little puppy growl when his new mom picked him up for a cuddle. He still hates that!”

Ari’s Favorite Things

“What he loves more than anything is food, especially steak. He has worked out quite a system to get extra dinner from his aussie-poo brother, Beau, and his humans. A close second on his favorites list is rides (aka the ‘R-word’). He still does a puppy dance over the ‘R-word’ and doesn’t really care if he goes to the vet, groomer, or an actual outing. Like many octogenarians, he has slowed down and can’t walk very far, but a pet stroller keeps him out among his admiring fans. He adores people and is still wonderful with little kids. Cats are great fun to play with, but dogs, on the other hand (especially big ones), usually bring out the lion in him. That is only appropriate, as his name means lion in Hebrew! Back in the day, he would spend hours outside sunning himself and chasing deer or other critters. On more than one occasion, our 20 pound pooch fearlessly scared off a dozen or more bucks!”

On Ari Turning 17

“Ari has been part of the family for longer than any of our other dogs and is still going strong. There’s still a lot more eating to do, places to go, and ears to be scratched!”


Kay + Misty
Misty is a 20-year-old cat. She is also a cancer survivor! You can read her full story here.

On Adopting Misty

“I got her from a breeder in North Carolina. I had to get her away from her brother who was a bully.  He kept stealing her food and toys and demanded everyone’s attention! He undoubtedly would be a champion show cat, so he was allowed to get away with that behavior. I had another Chinchilla Persian previously who had been ill from birth but was resilient enough to travel the world with me and survived a bout of thrombocytopenia.”

Misty’s Big Personality

“Misty has attitude big time. She knows what she wants and how to get it.  She has me wrapped around her little paw.  She also has brains in addition to beauty.  She is easily one of the smartest cats I’ve shared my life with.  Most could recognize a few words like “Food,” “bad kitty,”  “good girl,” and “love you.”  Misty goes way beyond and seems to understand when I tell her I will be home late and ask if she wants her Nutrical. If I don’t tell her I’ll be home late, she throws a temper tantrum when I walk in the door. She has learned how to be a drama queen and feign illness or injury to try and make me stay home from work to be with her. She may look like a delicate, ethereal being, but she is tough and determined as can be seen by surviving a surgery that would have sidelined cats much younger.”

Misty’s Favorite Things

“Misty’s favorite activities are sleeping with her dolly, watching her gas log fireplace, looking at a lighted Christmas tree, playing with her ‘Tickle Pickle’ and being rocked in her blue recliner.”

Misty’s Health as a Cancer Survivor

“Misty is still hanging in there! She turned 19 on September 2nd and I hope she makes it to 20 or beyond. Her last labs were fairly good… all I can say is she continues to be my miracle kitty and seems to be giving the Energizer Bunny a run for his money.”

Do you have a senior pet enrolled with us (for cats and small dogs, that’s 7 years and older, while larger dogs are about 5-6 years and older)? Let us know! Send your pet’s story along with photos of your four-legged family member to 

colleen williams
By Colleen Williams

Over the past decade, Colleen has written about health, wellness, beauty, and even pets for The New York Times, The Cut, Refinery29, xoVain, Healthy Paws Pet Insurance, and Seattle Met Magazine, as well as many beauty brands. She has a BFA in Art History from the University of New Mexico and an AAS in Fashion Design from Parsons School of Design in New York.

Show more