When people decide the time is right to add a dog to the family, usually the first thing that comes to mind is a fuzzy ball of fur and the sweet smell of puppy breath. But before you buy or adopt, take time to consider your lifestyle, work schedule, and future plans. A dog should be considered a family member and lifetime commitment, not a fashion accessory or an impulse buy.
Millions of dogs are destroyed each year in shelters because their owners don’t take this commitment seriously. They’re abandoned for many reasons, but the most popular are: moving, having a baby, allergies, children leaving for college, can’t afford the expense, new significant other doesn’t like the dog (or vice versa), or they’ve grown too old.
Senior dogs are not broken or defective. They’re the innocent victims of people who have no regard for a sentient life they’ve chosen to cast aside. No dog will love you more or show more appreciation than an abandoned shelter dog.
Before you grab the cuddly puppy in the first kennel, walk the aisles and look in the eyes of the adult and senior dogs. They are the eyes of wisdom, hope, and joy remembered. These dogs have been around the block and if they could talk and write, they’d be the Hemingway’s of the canine world.
There are many advantages to adopting an older dog over a puppy. The following are just a few:
- Older dogs no longer have sharp baby teeth or the constant need to chew (whether it be on bones or the leg of the kitchen table).
- Most older dogs are already housetrained and know that indoors is for relaxation, and outdoors is for exercise and elimination.
- The majority of older dogs have already been socialized and are easier to introduce into an already established pack or household with other pets and/or children.
- Most adult dogs already know the meaning of the word NO.
- Older dogs are more predictable. You don’t have to guess how big they’ll grow or what their personality will be like.
- Senior dogs don’t require as much exercise and know the beauty of nap time. They also enjoy sharing it with their favorite human.
- Adult dogs are actually easier to train as they have longer attention spans.
- Dogs are ambassadors of forgiveness. Those that have been abused, abandoned, or neglected are oftentimes more loving and appreciative than their pampered counterparts.
- Adult or senior dogs are more mellow, laid back, and a what-you-see-is-what-you-get proposition.
- They make great therapy dogs and excellent companions for the elderly.
- Older dogs have already learned most of life’s lessons and if you’re receptive, are eager to share them with you.
- Senior dogs are like an old bedroom shoe: a good fit, easy to love, and impossible to part with.
- Make a statement for caring and compassion. You will have saved a life that most likely would have ended far too soon and your adult or senior dog will more than repay you with a lifetime of love and devotion.
Never underestimate a dogs ability to teach, guide, and instruct. Senior dogs are canine zen masters; the embodiment of wisdom and soul. They’re elder statesmen and survivors of all life has thrown at them. If you take time to find a quiet place and connect, an old dog may have a few important life lessons to teach you.
Have you ever learned new tricks from an old dog? Please share in the comments section. I’d love to hear about them!