Many senior dogs end up for adoption each year through no fault of their own. The owner may have died, someone in the family developed allergies, or the family moved.
There are even cases where the family simply decided they couldn’t bear to see their dog get older and pass away. A large breed dog is considered senior at about seven years of age, and a small breed is considered senior at about twelve years of age.
A senior dog rescue can be an especially good choice for someone who wants a dog that is less active and energetic. Many senior dogs have mellowed a lot by the time they reach their senior years, and really want nothing more than a little food, short walks, and love and affection thrown in for good measure. A senior dog adoption can get you unconditional love and a friend for life.
Advantages of a Senior Dog Rescue
There some great advantages to senior dog adoption or rescue:
- You’ll be giving an older dog a chance to live out his golden years with love and a family, rather than, in the worst case, being euthanized. You’ll be able to feel that you’ve done a good, kind, thing by giving a senior dog a second chance.
- A senior dog will likely form a deep, loving bond with you. A senior dog knows when she’s been given a second chance, and it will be grateful for a happy, loving home to live out her golden years. It may take a little while for a senior dog to adjust, but when she does, she’ll be a wonderful companion.
- Dogs at a senior dog rescue are almost always already trained. This mean that you won’t have to housebreak them, teach them basic obedience, or deal with the hassles of chewed furniture or shoes. One of the biggest misconceptions about older dogs is that it will take a lot of time to break them of their bad habits. Even if your dog does have a couple of bad habits, consider that getting a senior dog means it will take a lot less time to correct those that to fully housebreak and train a puppy!
- Senior dogs are mellower than younger dogs. They’ve been there, and they’ve seen that. They’ve had experience with everything from kids, to other animals, to different homes, to all sorts of different people and situations. That makes them very adaptable. Most senior dogs will probably learn to fit in with your family quite quickly.
- What you see is what you’ll get. A senior dog has already grown into its adult size, and has a well-developed personality. Puppies, and even young dogs, can grow up to be different, both in size and personality, than you’d expect. Senior dog rescue takes away this uncertainty.
- A senior dog will give you more time to yourself. Senior dogs are less energetic, and won’t need as much time as a puppy or energetic young dog. They may, however, love sitting by your feet as you read a good book, or enjoy a leisurely walk in the park. Doesn’t that sound nice!
- A senior dog will let you sleep through the night. Older dogs are usually used to their human’s desire to sleep through the night, and know to ask for bathroom breaks in the morning. Puppies and energetic young dogs generally don’t seem to respect their owner’s desire for peace and quiet. A senior dog adoption may get you some peace of mind.
- A dog from a senior dog rescue will still have the energy to run and play. You may be surprised how young and energetic a senior dog can be when she’s in the company of other dogs or when chasing a ball!
Disadvantages of Senior Dog Adoption
There are some potential disadvantages to a senior dog, however. Senior dog adoption may not be the best choice if you plan lengthy runs every day, or if you have rambunctious young children to bother the dog. Some potential negatives in getting a senior dog are:
- You’ll have to decide if you’re willing to part with your senior puppy in a few years when he grows older and passes away. This is one of the sadder sides of senior dog adoption.
- Your senior dog rescue may develop age-related health issues. These include hearing problems, arthritis, dental problems, and blindness. You’ll have to think about how you’ll deal with that, and even consider how much money you’ll be able (or willing) to spend on your senior dog’s health. Keep in mind that any years that you can give a senior dog in a loving, stable home will be well worth it. Getting a senior dog can be greatly rewarding.
It’s the quality of the time you have with your dog that really makes the relationship you have with your dog, rather than the number of years you have together. It’s far better to find the perfect dog for you and enjoy them than to get a dog that may not be as perfect that will live just a little bit longer.
Blessed is the person who has earned the love of an old dog.
Sydney Jeanne Seward