Two years ago, I was sitting in my car writing an update for the dogs I had just walked, and I looked up to see this sad, sore, and hungry dog looking up at me. You could tell by looking at him that he was an older dog and that he had been on his own for a while. We searched high and low for his family, but NO ONE ever came forward for him. He found me on November 27, 2018 and became a member of our family on December 3, 2018. It was love at first sight for both of us!
Before November 27th, I thought puppies were the way to go. They were so cute and cuddly. You could train them early and you (thought) you knew what you were getting with them. Now I can tell you, without a doubt, that I will always adopt an older dog when given the chance.
BENEFITS OF ADOPTING A SENIOR PET
Giving that pet a home to live our their Golden Years
Too many times, older dogs are overlooked at the shelters. I have heard many people say that they can’t handle the loss of a pet ‘that soon’ or that they ‘won’t know what they are getting’. Many senior animals had lived with a family and were loved but, for some reason, they have found themselves needing new homes. How sad is it to think that the last months or years of their lives might be spent in shelter?
Giving them many more years of fun and love
Pets are generally considered seniors between 5 and 7 years old. THAT IS NOT OLD! There are still many more years for them to be happy! Your vet can help you keep your senior pet health and happy for a long time.
What you see is what you get
Oftentimes with puppies or kittens you think you know what you are getting. But do you really know how big it is going to get or their grooming requirements? You will have NO IDEA about their personality or the energy level. With senior pets, you will already know their full-grown size, or their grooming requirements. You will know what their personality is like much sooner than you would with a younger pet that is still trying to figure it out.
Older pets require less time and supervision
Do you REALLY want to go through the housebreaking or teething stages? Or the ‘you must play with me AT ALL TIMES’ stage? An older pet is an instant companion. They are ready to play or snuggle from the beginning.
Older pets are appreciative
I strongly believe that Thorin knows how fortunate he was by choosing me. He shows me EVERY DAY how much he loves and appreciates me. Senior pets know that they have been given a second chance and will show you how much it means to them EVERY SINGLE DAY!
They are just ADORABLE!
How can you resist that grey muzzle looking up at you with adoration in their eyes? There is just something about a senior pet that melts my heart.
CHALLENGES OF ADOPTING A SENIOR PET
Needs more time to adjust
A senior pet might take a little more time to get used to a new routine. Puppies will trust you from day one but a senior, who has already been let down, may take a little longer.
Unless the shelter was able to get a complete health history, there will be many unknowns regarding their history. There are not any guarantees that you will have a completely healthy pet even if you got them very young. Do not let this be a deterrent.
Might need a mellow household
A senior pet might take a little more time to get used to a new routine. Puppies will trust you from day one but a senior, who has already been let down, may take a little longer. Pay attention to the signals!
Within two months of Thorin joining our family, he went from being able to walk independently to being paralyzed in his hind end. Since he found me on the street, we had no idea what was wrong with him. He received acupuncture and physical therapy for about three months before he was able to walk again. A smaller dog is a little easier to handle if they have mobility issues. A larger dog could be a challenge. Talking to your vet is especially important for keeping your dog comfortable and mobile!
It is not ALWAYS rainbows and butterflies. You may run in to some challenges with adopting a senior pet but, the benefits greatly outweigh the challenges!