In an ideal world, every shelter dog would find a loving forever home but sadly it’s the older ones that are usually the last to find homes and the first to be euthanized.
There are a number of reasons why senior dogs are surrendered to shelters, such as a specific illness that requires medication, mobility issues or simply gastro-intestinal issues that make their dog “smelly”. Sometimes, the dog’s owner passes away and the family can’t or don’t want to care for the pet that is left behind.
It is heartbreaking that, after years of unconditional love and devotion, when a dog needs care, comfort and companionship the most, its owner is prepared to discard them, like an old pair of shoes.
Reasons why potential adopters may overlook these older dogs
- They may have, or may soon develop, health problems that require expensive medication
- They may have recently lost a pet and can’t bear the prospect of going through the same hurt again within a few years.
- Younger adopters may not find them as cute or energetic playmates as puppies
The one thing I tend to see is that the older dogs are often just sitting quietly at the back of the kennel, not drawing attention to themselves, so people simply pass them by. What they often fail to realize is that poor dog has lived for years in a loving family home, so is feeling scared, abandoned and confused in their caged surroundings and they are just waiting patiently to be taken ‘home’ again.
To see their true character, it’s important to interact with the dog outside the cage, to get to know them better and see if you have that special connection.
10 Reasons Why a Senior Furry Soulmate Could Be YOUR Perfect Companion
#1 Senior dogs have better manners. Having spent years living with a family, they have been socialized with humans and may even have been trained to at least respond to basic commands such as sit, stay and down. Many will also be house trained, so it won’t take long for them to pick up the potty rules in their new home.
#2 What you see is what you get. A senior dog holds no surprises as to how big they may grow, whether their coloring may change, or whether they will develop a genetic or breed-specific condition. Having knowledge of their past and present helps you better manage future expectations.
#3 Senior pets are less destructive. An older dog has grown out of the seek and destroy puppy phase, they’ve gone through their infant teething, so don’t chew on anything and everything and their mischief mayhem is replaced with calmer curiosity.
#4 You CAN teach an old dog new tricks. Adult dogs are less easily distracted than younger pups, so they can focus better on the task. Many will already know the basic commands, so it can be fun for both of you to learn new tricks and increase the bond between you.
#5 A dog to match your own energy levels. As an older dog has less excess energy to burn off, they will be happier to go at a slower speed. So if you prefer to play frisbee in the yard or a walk in the park, rather than a mountain hike then an older dog may be the best fit for you.
Oh, and it goes without saying that senior dogs make great snuggle buddies when you just want to kick back and relax at the end of a hard day!
#6 Senior dogs and senior citizens make the perfect companions. Many elderly people crave companionship and can talk to their furry friend all day, every day, without judgement or criticism. Stroking an animal also has a proven soothing influence, that improves a human’s mood and wellbeing.
#7 Adopting a senior dog is a relatively short-term commitment. Many people deny themselves the pleasure of a dog because their circumstances are likely to change in the next 8-15 years. Elderly people think their pet will outlive them and are worried about what would happen to them. A senior dog is the perfect solution for both scenarios.
#8 Adopted seniors are more devoted. Dogs are always thought to have a sixth sense but, from my own personal experience, I truly believe that my senior adoptees really know they have been rescued and saved from years spent in a cage or an even worse fate. They show true devotion and are really eager to please, as if they are showing gratitude for me rescuing them.
# 9 You Can Pick Your Perfect Pooch. Whether you want a certain size dog, or a non-shedding breed, one that’s cat-friendly or one that likes travelling in cars, you can cater for your specific requirements.
Many rescue centers have photos and details of dogs available for adoptions on their websites, so you can make your initial shortlist before arranging a visit in person. There are also some rescue organizations that specialize in specific breeds, which will not only match you up with the dog of your dreams but also provide specialist ongoing advice and support.
BUT don’t be surprized if you end up going home with a totally different dog than you went for – you’ll only know which is the right one for you once you get there!
#10 It is in the giving that we receive. This is undeniably illustrated when you give a rescue dog a home, for you will receive unconditional love and loyalty that money just can’t buy!
As we head into the holiday season, many people look for ways to be charitable. One person can’t save every dog but every person can save one dog from having to spend their remaining time in a shelter.
So, if you’re planning on getting a new furry addition to your family, I hope you will consider opening your heart and your home to a senior shelter dog. It’s sure to put a new spring in both of your steps!
Helen Broadley & the FidoActive Team