If you’re thinking about bringing a new, furry family member into your household, or if you know someone who is thinking about adopting a new dog, here are some great reasons why a senior dog could be the very best choice for you.
Adopting a senior dog saves a life.
Whenever you adopt a pet from a shelter, you are saving a life. Young or old, dogs that are adopted from shelters are saved, but the sad truth is that older dogs are more likely to be euthanized before younger dogs. By adopting a senior dog, you can be sure that you’re saving that dog’s life. The positive returns from saving a dog’s life are immeasurable. In some cases, a pet owner may even adopt a senior dog as part of their grieving for the recent loss of their pet. There is something healing and strengthening in taking a fellow creature out of the path of danger.
A senior dog has a solid personality.
When it comes to older dogs, what you see is what you get. A dog’s personality can of course develop according to upbringing and treatment, but there are some elements in a dog’s character that will remain outside of your control and guidance. If you are looking for a very specific personality type, why not check out some senior dogs? If you know that you like to snuggle and relax, an older dog will be your perfect companion. A shelter can give the basic history and observations about the dogs housed there. Go and interact with the older dogs, ask plenty of questions, and see if you make a connection.
Senior dogs come with prior training.
The majority of senior dogs will have at least basic house and manners training. Odds are, your dog will not be making any messes, although you have to allow for accidents when your dog is first coming into your home, especially if the shelter or kennel experience was stressful. Your senior dog will probably also understand basic commands. This is all good news for your carpets and your furniture. It will be much easier to teach a mature dog to not chew furniture and other off-limits items, especially since that dog’s teething stage will be long past.
Senior dogs can make fast adjustments.
Senior dogs can fit into your family very quickly. Unlike puppies, they have life experience in joining packs or families. The adjustment period is also shorter and less intense than a puppy’s. While a new puppy makes waves, a senior dog makes ripples. If you know that you want a new dog but you don’t have the flexibility to devote a lot of time to training, supervising, teaching dos and don’ts, and all the rest, a senior dog is an excellent choice.
An old dog can learn new tricks.
If a senior dog has already had past training, the basic foundation for teaching new commands will already be in place. The other great news is that a senior dog has a longer and better developed attention span. In many ways, this will make training a senior dog easier than training a fresh puppy.
Senior dogs are not necessarily problem dogs.
It’s commonly thought that if a senior dog is in a shelter, it’s because that dog had behavioral problems that made its owners decide to give it up. While this is sometimes the case, it is certainly not the rule. Many, perhaps even the majority of senior dogs, end up in a shelter for reasons completely unrelated to their personality and behavior. Some families experience changes that make it difficult or impossible to keep a dog in the home. These changes can include a new job, a baby birth, bringing elderly parents or other family members into the home that may be allergic, the death of the primary caretaker, and even the relocation of the family to a home that cannot accommodate pets. When these changes happen and a family dog is displaced, that dog’s need for love, compassion, and care is just as high, if not higher, after the trauma of losing a family and home.
A senior dog may be the best fit for your time commitment.
Bringing a dog into your family is a commitment of care, love, and time. And that commitment will last for your dog’s lifetime. Unfortunately, some pet owners find themselves unprepared to make that long-term commitment. For this reason, many adult dogs end up in shelters. If you know that you want a dog but, for whatever reason, you know you can’t commit 10+ years to caring for a pet, one of the best things you can do is adopt a senior dog. The golden years in a dog’s life can be some of the most rewarding and wonderful times in a dog’s life. Take advantage of this special time by adopting a senior dog.
Pictured in the article is a tribute to Piper and his owner, Colin Smith, who passed away in March of 2014. One day Piper with cross the Rainbow Bridge and his owner will be there to meet her. We love Piper, and it has been such a blessing to have her around. We are all amazed at how at almost 15 she still goes up and down the stairs. She loves to check in on the cats, and enjoys my company while I am working in my office.
I would love to hear your story of your beloved senior dog.