Any shelter-savvy dog owner can tell you what a fulfilling and wonderful investment welcoming a senior dog into your home can be, yet older dogs are often the last to be adopted. The month of November is dedicated to bringing awareness to those pooches who still have plenty of love to give and provide more ease than their younger counterparts, but are statistically shown to be perpetually picked over.
The ASPCA writes, “Why wouldn’t you want to adopt an older dog? They don’t destroy your shoes and furniture, they’re either already house-trained or figure it out quickly, they’re great for someone with a busy or low-key lifestyle, and—most important—you know exactly what you’re getting when you bring them home.”
Before you hit the shelter, check out the ASPCA’s top ten reasons to open your home to a sweet senior:
1. What You See Is What You Get: “Older dogs are open books—from the start, you’ll know important things like their full-grown size, personality and grooming requirements. All this information makes it easier to pick the right dog and forge that instant love connection that will last a lifetime.”
2. Easy to Train: “Think you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? Hogwash! Older dogs are great at focusing on you—and on the task at hand—because they’re calmer than youngsters. Plus, all those years of experience reading humans can help them quickly figure out how to do what you’re asking.”
3. Seniors are Super-Loving: “The emails we get from pet parents with senior dogs seem to all contain beautiful, heartfelt descriptions of the love these dogs give you—and those of you who adopted dogs already in their golden years told us how devoted and grateful they are,” the ASPCA wrote. “It’s an instant bond that cannot be topped!”
4. They’re Not a 24-7 Job: “Grownup dogs don’t require the constant monitoring puppies do, leaving you with more freedom to do your own thing.”
5. They Settle in Quickly: “Older dogs have been around the block and already learned what it takes to get along with others and become part of a pack.”
6. Fewer Messes: “….Older dogs are likely to already be house-trained—and even if they’re not, they have the physical and mental abilities to pick it up really fast (unlike puppies). With their teething years far behind them, seniors also are much less likely to be destructive chewers.”
7. You Won’t Bite Off More Than You Can Chew: “….a puppy or young dog can be anywhere from an 8- to 20-year responsibility, which is not appropriate for the very elderly or those with certain long-term future plans. Providing a loving home for a dog in her golden years is not a less serious commitment, but it can be a shorter one.”
8. They Enjoy Easy Livin’: “Couch potato, know thyself! Please consider a canine retiree rather than a high-energy young dog who will run you ragged. Not that older dogs don’t require any exercise—they do—but they’re not going to need, or want, to run a marathon every day.”
9. Save a Life, Be a Hero: “At shelters, older dogs are often the last to be adopted and the first to be euthanized. Saving an animal’s life offers an unparalleled emotional return on your investment, and you’ll feel the rewards every day you spend together.”
10. They’re CUTE!
Click here to find a shelter near you, and chat with the staff about its older residents that are hoping to be exactly the addition to complete your home. — Casandra Armour