Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Why Should I Adopt a Senior Dog?

One of the most heartbreaking things to see is a senior dog sitting behind bars in a shelter.  And it happens so often.  I am ashamed to admit that sometimes I scroll fast past a photo of an elderly dog with the caption reading "To be destroyed", because the sadness of it all can be overwhelming.  There are, after all, so many homeless senior dogs, and so few of those who can appreciate how wonderful old pets are.  I have met many senior pets within the past few years, and each has been more sweet and loving than the last.  Here's why you should consider adding an older dog to your family.

Fewer surprises - One of the top reasons for people returning a dog to a shelter is because they adopted the dog when it was a puppy and "didn't realize how big he was going to get."  Another reason is not doing enough research into the breed; for example, Australian Shepherd or Border Collie puppies will get adopted then returned because the family hadn't realized how much energy they'd have.  When you adopt a senior dog, what you see is basically what you get:  for the most part, their personalities are already formed, and their size isn't going to change.

Susie, of Susie's Senior Dogs (photo by The Dogist)

Less training - In general, adoptable senior dogs are fairly well-trained.  When I worked in a shelter, it was the older dogs who kept the cleanest kennels and seemed to be the most reliable in terms of "holding it."  Besides some training to work on his barking, our 8-year-old Riley came to us fully house-broken and even knew a few tricks when we adopted him.  Seniors are also calmer than puppies or young dogs, so chances are, they're easier to train.  In shelters, people tend to gravitate towards the adorable puppies, but older dogs don't come with the crazy energy and tendency to chew that puppies have!

Of course, everyone knows and loves Sugar of Golden Woofs (photo from this post)

ALL THE NAPS! - I won't deny it:  I'm a total couch potato.  It would be unrealistic for me to adopt a high energy dog or puppy.  And that's the beauty of a senior dog - in general, they are very chill and make the best nap partners!  Though there are many seniors out there who still act years younger, my dog is the perfect mix of play and sleep.  If you're used to livin' the lazy life, consider a senior dog to keep you company!

A 16-year-old Cairn Terrier mix, photographed by Pete Thorne (photo from here)

They're adorable! - Let's face it, dogs only get cuter with age.  Nothing is sweeter than a furry face with a greying muzzle, and I think society (or at least social media) is starting to embrace that.  Sites like Buzzfeed are constantly sharing photos or stories about senior pets, and often the Instagram pets that get the most "likes" are older animals.  Even better, organizations like Susie's Senior Dogs are popping up everywhere, aiming to find perfect homes for senior adoptables.

This sweet older girl is a frequent guest at our doggie hotel!

Save a life - Senior dogs are often the first ones to be euthanized if a shelter is short on space.  They are constantly looked over in favor of dogs who are younger, healthier, cuter, etc.  Saving an old dog feels good, and it's highly rewarding.  The bond you and your dog will form after you have saved his life is an amazing thing, and he'll be devoted to you for the rest of his days.

What do you love about senior dogs?  Share in the comments! :)


  1. *knock, knock* Hey Riley, are ya home? Woof! Woof! Me and my handsome brother popped over from the Welcome Wagon to say howdy! We think your mom does impawtent work so we are glad you are helping her. Now you probably don't know this BUTT me and my brother are the Mayors Elect for Blogville 2015. There are lots of fun stuffs coming up so we hope your mom will let you pawticipate! Looking forward to sharing the road with you!

    Your Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley

  2. Hi Riley, we just came from the welcome wagon. We have one rescue dog--but she was a puppy. We had a senior dog at that time. We hope you'll be allowed to join in the Blogville Fun, it's a great community.

  3. I know it is cliche, but old dogs really do have a special sweetness about them.

  4. We agree that older dogs make great pets!!

    We also are coming over from the Blogville Welcome Wagon, and can't wait to get to know you all better!!

    Mama Beth, Dory, Jakey, Arty & Bilbo

  5. Hiya Riley, I've just come over from the Welcome Wagon to say a big Hello
    Loves and licky kisses
    Princess Leah xxx

  6. You know I agree older animals are usually a little easier to adopt. They want a friend not a parent.