"Because older dogs fill the holes in your heart instead of digging holes in your yard."
By Vicki Clinebell
Shelters are full of older dogs hoping for a second chance at life. Many of these animals were once owned and loved by someone, but for various reasons end up homeless. A lot of people think that if they drop their older dog off at the shelter it will get adopted and have a great life with someone else. This just isn’t so. Many of these animals become depressed and are overlooked for younger, cuter dogs. When most people think of bringing a dog into their family they are thinking of a warm, cuddly, tail wagging, wet nosed puppy. While puppies are lovely, there are a lot of solid reasons for considering adopting an older dog. Senior dogs need homes just as badly as younger dogs, and make loving and loyal companions. There are great reasons to consider an older animal when you’re ready to adopt.
1. Be a Hero
By adopting an older dog, you are fighting for the value and beauty of life at all ages and stages. Shelters are frequently overcrowded and older dogs are often among the first to be euthanized. By choosing an older animal you are truly saving a life. It’s heroic to see beauty and love where others often don’t even bother looking by giving an older dog a second chance to live out the rest of his or her life with dignity and love.
2. Older Dogs are Already Trained
Most older dogs have already mastered training basics. They know outdoors is for potty and shoes are for walking not chewing. A senior dog has learned many of life’s lessons already and they are quick to understand what you’re asking from them. Older dogs, especially those who have once experienced love and affection, will try to please you by being obedient and showing good house manners.
3. Fewer Surprises
Older dogs are a known commodity, easy to assess for size and temperament. You won’t be wondering just exactly how big they’ll grow, and you’ll know who the dog is: aloof, friendly, or shy, so it’s easier to decide how the senior you choose will fit into your family and your lifestyle.
4. Less Demanding
Don’t adopt a dog unless you’re prepared to give it love, attention, spend money and make some personal sacrifices. A senior dog is often less demanding than a highly energetic, untrained puppy. While many older dogs still enjoy a brisk daily walk, they’re also content to nap and to cuddle, and can fit into many households with ease. A senior dog won’t run you ragged. Most grownup dogs don’t require the constant monitoring and ongoing training that puppies need, so they’re a good choice for older people or busy families with young children.
5. Instant Companionship
Most senior dogs have already been socialized and learned what it takes to get along with humans, and often with other pets. You can skip a lot of the training and socialization that puppies require and just get to the cuddling. Older dogs know the routine, when you open the car door they jump right in. They know what the word “walk” means or “treat” so you can have more meaningful interactions with your older dog without years of training. The reward for spending time with your new senior companion is the quick bond you create that builds a special future together.
6. Old Dogs Do Learn New Tricks
Older dog are eager to learn new tricks. That may go against what you’ve heard in the past, but it’s true. Dogs can be trained at any age. A senior dog, given a new chance for a loving home, will reward your care with unwavering devotion and do his best to please you which makes teaching new tricks pretty easy and older dogs often make excellent therapy dogs.
If you’re going to bring home a new dog it’s important to educate yourself so you can give the dog time to adjust to his or her new surroundings and family. Observe your new dog to get familiar with his personality, likes, dislikes and to see how your dog is communicating with you. A kind, understanding attitude helps them make the adjustment with ease and comfort. The privilege of loving an older dog can make every day special. For those reluctant to consider a senior because the possibility of a painful loss seems closer, remember that life offers no guarantees. Quality of time together matters so much more than quantity.