Updated: Feb 13, 2022
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.
Adopting a dog is a major decision that will change not only your life but the life of whatever dog you adopt as well. Each stage of a dog’s life comes with its own list of pros and cons, so it can be hard to know if age really matters.
Every rescued life matters. What we see in senior dogs is that those who may not have had many soft spots in life seem to recognize when they are offered—especially when those soft spots are within a human heart. They are grateful for life, for loyalty and compassion.
Day-to-day, it’s also true that senior dogs are quite done with the chewing of the slippers, the need to run rather than walk, and they also recognize the importance of a well-timed nap or two... or three.. who's counting anyway..
Here are some more reasons
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 4 (Arabella, Nouska, Grigri and Dulce) senior dogs so far. Some stay several years, some only a couple of months. 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.
a 'Senior Dog' mom-O-Holic