I’ve been a HUGE advocate for people adopting senior dogs for many years now. Nothing makes me sadder than seeing a white-muzzled old dog, after a life of pure loyalty to one person or family, sitting abandoned and confused at a shelter. Nothing makes me smile like seeing a neighbor walk by slowly and patiently, with an elderly dog who isn’t as spry as she used to be.
So, here are my Top Ten reasons to adopt a senior dog:
1. Older dogs have already been trained. No puddles on the floor. No chewed-up shoes. Sometimes they come already knowing a surprising number of tricks.
2. Older dogs usually come up-to-date on shots and already spayed or neutered.
3. Senior dogs know what “No” means. The fact is, if they hadn’t learned this, they wouldn’t have lived so long. So the older a dog is, mostly likely, the better behaved they are.
4. Senior dogs love to sleep the day away. They enjoy regular walks too, but the best part of the day is NAPTIME. I can identify!
5. At shelters, older dogs are often the last to be adopted and the first to be euthanized. If you think about it, adopting an older dog technically saves TWO lives, because you free the shelter space to help another.
6. Senior dogs adapt to your lifestyle and routine very quickly.
7. When you rescue a senior dog, you have a best friend for life, a special bond, and nothing matches the love of a senior dog for their rescuer.
8. What you see is what you get: older dogs have developed their personality, and are as big as they’re going to get. Puppies can grow up to be entirely different from what they first seemed!
9. Older dogs let you get a good night’s sleep and unlike puppies, don’t generally need late night feedings, comforting, or trips outside.
I’ve adopted 6 senior dogs now. I had nearly 4 great years with one, and only 5 short months with another. You never know how long you’ll get, and many people see this as a negative, which I understand. But I prefer to see it as giving my dogs the golden retirement they deserve. Yes, it’s VERY sad when they go… but there’s a warm feeling of having really come through for them, when you say goodbye to a dog that you saw through to the end.
10. Let’s face it, it is a shorter commitment. It’s not bad to say this! Maybe you can’t make an 18-year commitment to a dog right now. Or perhaps you’re just not sure you want to. That’s OK! There are so many older dogs out there, who only need your love and commitment for a shorter time. Maybe you’re perfect for each other.
-Sandra Schuld, ODND Volunteer